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Updated: August 25th, 2011 11:33am
Twins' Michael Cuddyer in lineup; Joe Mauer sits with sore neck

Twins' Michael Cuddyer in lineup; Joe Mauer sits with sore neck

by Judd Zulgad
1500ESPN.com
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Michael Cuddyer was in the Minnesota Twins starting lineup in right field for Thursday's game against the Baltimore Orioles at Target Field after an MRI done in the morning on his left wrist came back negative.

Cuddyer took a pitch off the wrist in the first inning of the Twins' 6-1 loss to Baltimore on Wednesday and immediately left the game with what he assumed was a broken bone. But an X-ray done at Target Field and the MRI both provided good news.

Cuddyer arrived at the ballpark wearing a wrap on the wrist but told manager Ron Gardenhire he wanted to play. Cuddyer, in fact, informed Gardenhire of this before anyone knew what the MRI showed.

Meanwhile, Joe Mauer has a stiff neck that he suffered while playing first base Tuesday and will only play if it's absolutely necessary. And it might be.

"Joe has to be available, I only have one other catcher," Gardenhire said. "If something happens to Drew [Butera, who will start] I told Joe, 'You have to go in the game, we have no other choice.' He says he thinks he can do that.'"

Gardenhire had to wait until the last minute to submit his lineup as he waited for the official word on Cuddyer. The lineup will be Ben Revere in center field; Trevor Plouffe at shortstop; Justin Morneau at first base; Cuddyer in right; Jason Kubel in left field; Jim Thome at designated hitter; Luke Hughes at third; Matt Tolbert at second; and Butera behind the plate.

Lefthander Francisco Liriano (9-9, 4.85) will start against Baltimore left Jo-Jo Reyes (6-10, 5.44)

In other injury news, infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka missed his fifth consecutive start because of a sore back but told the Twins he would like to play on Friday against Detroit.

Third baseman Danny Valenica is not available for Thursday's game after having his wisdom teeth removed. The procedure had been planned last week, but his absence leaves the bench shorthanded.

Infielder Alexi Casilla (right hamstring strain) has been doing on-the-field work for three days and pitcher Scott Baker (right flexor strain) is on the third day of his throwing program.

Report: Thome claimed by Indians

The Cleveland Indians claimed designated hitter Jim Thome off waivers from the Twins and the White Sox did the same with Jason Kubel, according to the Fox Sports website.

While Fox's Ken Rosenthal reports it's unlikely the White Sox would trade for Kubel because of the asking price, the same might not be true for Thome. In fact, ESPN's Buster Olney reported the Twins and Indians are engaged in trade talks.

Thome came up with the Indians in 1991 and played for the organization through the 2002 season before going to Philadelphia. Thome, who will turn 41 on Saturday, has a no-trade clause in the $3 million contract he is playing under this season so he could veto any deal.

Rosenthal reports Thome's preference would be to go to the Phillies but it's highly unlikely that would happen.

The Twins have until noon Friday to make a waiver deal.

Judd Zulgad is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays and "Saturday Morning SportsTalk" from 10 a.m. to noon on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Judd | @1500ESPNJudd | Mackey & Judd
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