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Updated: June 8th, 2010 4:48pm
Pregame notes: J.J. Hardy shooting for Thursday return

Pregame notes: J.J. Hardy shooting for Thursday return

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Shortstop J.J. Hardy, who has been bothered by a bone bruise in his left wrist for more than a month, received the first cortisone shot of his life on Monday.

"The whole wrist was starting to ache, hurt, and I think it was because I was favoring it, taking different swings than I normally would," Hardy said today. "Overall, it was good -- there's nothing more in there that we don't know about."

When Hardy originally came off the disabled list against the Yankees on May 25, he said the inflammation was gone, and the pain was tolerable unless he was forced to take, "like 10 swings in a row."

Two weeks later, the inflammation has returned, and Hardy is back in the trainer's room.

"This wrist has been really aggravating," Hardy said. "It's taken me a lot longer than I thought. From the night that I felt it, thinking I'm going to miss a couple games, going on the DL, and then coming back and still bothering me. It's been pretty frustrating."

Manager Ron Gardenhire said the Twins hope Hardy will be able to return to the field on Thursday. If not, Trevor Plouffe would likely take Hardy's roster spot.

"It just came down to the doctors thinking that the cortisone shot, because the medicine has made him feel better, they decided that a cortisone shot would probably work and get him within a couple days here," Gardenhire said.

"The other option was to immobilize his wrist for 10 days and do nothing, and see where that goes."

Luckily for Hardy, and the Twins, there is no ligament damage in the wrist. It's still just a bone bruise.

"It's just one of those good days and bad days," Gardenhire said. "Some days he can go out there and feel OK and some days he couldn't. It was to the point where he was trying to work on his swing, and every time he did that in the extra work his hand got sore. It was to the point where if he didn't take any swings he'd feel fine during the game. It's hard to play baseball like that."

NOTES

* As mentioned earlier, the Twins have also officially placed Hudson on the disabled list. The move is retroactive to Sunday, May 30, and Hudson is currently in Arizona visiting the doctor who operated on his wrist in 2008.

OF Michael Cuddyer, who was on the bereavement list while the Twins traveled to Oakland, will take Hudson's roster spot.

"We ... pretty much figured we were going to do that with him," Gardenhire said about placing Hudson on the DL. "He went to see his doctor (in Arizona) that did the surgery, and basically, they said the same thing everyone's been saying -- he needs a few more days here to get this thing healed. It's not anything (major such as) surgery. Just from where he had the surgery, he took a big hit on it and we just have to get him five or six more days, and they say he should be fine and ready to go. But if you try to go before then, it's probably not a good thing."

Matt Tolbert will start at second base and bat second against RHP Zack Greinke (1-7, 3.60).

* 1B Justin Morneau missed Saturday and Sunday's games against Oakland due to a bout of the flu. He's back in the lineup tonight, playing first base and batting fourth.

"He says just getting his strength back is the big thing right now, but he's ready to play," Gardenhire said.

Facing Greinke tonight may not be the best cure for Morneau's illness. He is 5-for-26 with zero home runs and only one walk off Greinke in his career.

* After six consecutive starts in which Kevin Slowey (6-3, 3.84) failed to pitch beyond six innings, he has now gone 6 2/3 and seven in back-to-back starts, allowing only two earned runs and 13 base runners in the process.

Much more efficient, and much less taxing on the bullpen.

"He was on the plate more," Gardenhire said about Slowey's recent success. "On the corners still, but on the plate more to where they had to swing, which is a good deal.

"They've got to be quality strikes. You can't just pitch to contact with stuff over the middle of the plate, you're going to get killed. There's a fine line."

* Regarding the Twins drafting Ohio State RHP Alex Wimmers in the first round of the MLB draft last night, Gardenhire sounded pleased, but also said he wouldn't mind adding a guy like Stephen Strasburg who can throw 98 mph.

"But the only way to get high in the draft is to get the manager fired," Gardenhire quipped.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd
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