MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins didn't have much of an update on first baseman Justin Morneau, who was at Target Field working out again on Friday as he continues to recover from a concussion he suffered on July 7.Manager Ron Gardenhire said that Morneau told the skipper on Friday that he's feeling really good. But Gardenhire knows that even if Morneau tells the team that he's ready to play, there is still a lot of rust to shake off from such a long layoff. During a radio appearance on ESPN 1500 AM on Friday afternoon, Gardenhire was asked about Manny Ramirez and the slugger's limited production since joining the White Sox. Gardenhire mentioned a conversation that took place between first baseman Michael Cuddyer and Ramirez during the series at Chicago this week where Ramirez talked about the difficulty of not having hit in two months due to sitting out with injuries. "That just tells you about how hard this game is," Gardenhire said. "You sit out for two months and all of a sudden you come back and start facing Major League pitching right away. That's not easy to do. There is some work ahead for Manny and if Morneau were to decide that he's ready to get out here and start doing some things, there is a lot of work to be done -- body wise, ground balls wise, everything. He's been out for over two months." As for whether the Twins could still get Morneau back at some point this season, Gardenhire said that he didn't really have an idea. "We'll let it happen as it happens," Gardenhire said. "If it happens, we'll figure out something and see what we can do. If it works out great, if it doesn't, it doesn't."
Span out of lineup with shoulder injury
MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins center fielder Denard Span was scratched from Friday night's lineup against the A's after injuring his right shoulder while diving for a ball during Thursday's game at Chicago.Span tried to take swings out on the field during early batting practice but his shoulder was sore, manager Ron Gardenhire said. So Ben Revere was penciled in the lineup for his first Major League start, batting leadoff and playing center field. As for the team's concern over Span's shoulder, Gardenhire said he didn't really know the extent of the injury. "He went out and tried to swing and it bothered him," Gardenhire said. "Hopefully it's a day thing." The Twins were already down an outfielder on Friday with Jason Kubel sidelined with a sore left wrist. Kubel said that he didn't plan to take any swings on Friday as he lets the soreness get out of his wrist. Gardenhire said the target date for Kubel's return right now is Sunday. "He said he felt a lot better today but not ready to play," Gardenhire said. "We'll have to see what happens, but we're probably looking at Sunday at best." The injuries to Span and Kubel have left the team without a backup outfielder on the bench. Gardenhire said he's already started to look at options in case of an emergency, which could mean using an infielder such as Matt Tolbert in the outfield.
Revere went 0-for-3 with a walk on Friday night.
"His first start in the big leagues and he did the best he could against a pitcher that ate a lot of hitters up, not just him," said Gardenhire.
Twins' Baker could get spot start soon
MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire had talked this weekend about right-hander Scott Baker pitching out of the bullpen when he was ready to return to the mound following a second bout with elbow tendinitis. But it appears that Baker could be getting a spot start for the Twins sometime soon.Gardenhire said that he's spoken with pitching coach Rick Anderson about the possibility of giving an extra day of rest to some of his starters, particularly right-hander Carl Pavano who has been bothered by a stiff neck. One way that the club could do that is by inserting Baker into the rotation for a spot start and Gardenhire said they've been kicking around different ideas regarding the rotation. "Baker would be an option to put him back in the rotation if he feels great, and give an extra day to other guys," Gardenhire said. "That's really important this time of the year with all of the innings adding up." Baker is set to throw another bullpen session on Saturday and then could be available a few days after that session if all goes well. Gardenhire said that when Baker does get back out to pitch in a starting role again, he shouldn't have to be on a limited pitch count. "He's ready to go up there 80-100 pitches," Gardenhire said. "He's fine as long as his elbow is fine. There are plenty of innings underneath the arm."
Joe Mauer was given the night off from behind the plate on Friday and he was not in the starting lineup. The Twins have a 12:10 p.m. CT on Saturday so Mauer likely got a break before catching Kevin Slowey in the day contest. ... Twins manager Ron Gardenhire is three wins away from reaching 800 career managerial wins. ... The Twins entered Friday with a 42-16 record after the All-Star break and the .724 winning percentage in the second half is the highest in franchise history. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only one team in the last 15 seasons has had a higher second-half winning percentage. That was the A's, who were 58-17 (.773) after the All-Star break in 2001.
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.