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Updated: May 29th, 2010 1:41pm
Pregame notes: Justin Morneau to DH, Nick Punto to rest

Pregame notes: Justin Morneau to DH, Nick Punto to rest

by Phil Mackey
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins will send RHP Carl Pavano (4-5, 4.17) to the mound this afternoon to face Rangers LHP C.J. Wilson (3-2, 3.07).

We already know the story with Pavano -- he's generally good for a gem or a clunker.

Wilson, however, is an intriguing story. Wilson was a relief pitcher for Texas from 2005-2009, spending a considerable amount of time as the Rangers' closer as well. As a reliever, Wilson posted a 3.65 ERA in 259 innings with 250 strikeouts to 120 walks, and his fastball resided in the mid-90s.

Heading into the season, the Rangers decided to give Wilson -- who started throughout his minor league career -- a shot at the starting rotation. He won the fifth starter job, and so far hasn't disappointed, posting a 3.07 ERA over nine starts, with 44 strikeouts, 22 walks, and only three home runs allowed in 58 2/3 innings -- and that includes giving up 12 earned runs over his last two starts.

Manager Ron Gardenhire compared Wilson's skill set -- as a guy who can be an effective starter or reliever -- to Brian Duensing and Francisco Liriano.

"He has the pitches to be a starter, and he can come out of the bullpen too," Gardenhire said. "C.J. Wilson's just a little bit harder thrower (than Duensing). He throws gas, and that's why they put him in the closer role. He would be comparable to (Liriano), if we put Frankie in the closer role."

Wilson is also avid tweeter (@str8edgeracer). Upon arriving to Target Field today, he tweeted, "Oh yeah- temp today at the stadium- 85*F. #whoneedsaroof"

After yesterday's game he tweeted, "wow this new stadium in MN is awesome...too bad we couldn't make a bigger splash tonight. gonna #dowork tomorrow. 3pm CST on fox!"


* The Twins' original starting infield was back in tact last night for the first time since May 4. Thirdbaseman Nick Punto (finger) will sit this afternoon, however, because he still has some trouble swinging from the right side of the plate.

Not to mention, Brendan Harris (.290/.348/.414) has solid numbers against lefties in his career, so the lineup decision was easy for Gardenhire. Harris will play third.

* Justin Morneau will DH.

Morneau came into Gardenhire's office this morning and asked, "How's that DH slot looking today?"

Gardenhire was happy to oblige. Michael Cuddyer will play first base instead.

* RHP Pat Neshek (hand), who continues to work out at extended spring training, will soon begin a rehab stint at Class-A Fort Myers, according to Gardenhire.

Gardenhire said Neshek still feels some pain in his finger, but not enough to keep him from pitching.

There is no timetable for his return to the Major Leagues.

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