MILWAUKEE -- Joe Nathan said that he felt as good on Friday as he has since before undergoing Tommy John surgery last March.
"Now it's just a matter of getting pitching strength and getting that experience back, and getting out there and throwing every day," Nathan said. "That was my first time throwing back-to-back [days since the surgery]. The more times you get out there and do that, I think the better it's going to get."
Nathan was activated from the 15-day disabled list after Thursday's game, as right-hander Jim Hoey was optioned to Triple-A Rochester.
In three rehab games for the Red Wings, Nathan allowed one unearned run on two hits while striking out five and walking one in three innings. Before going on the DL, Nathan went 1-1 with a 7.63 ERA, allowed 13 earned runs in 17 appearances for the Twins.
"The biggest difference has been the confidence to get back out there and feel fine," Nathan said. "Confidence, I think, came with the way it felt after the scar tissue started breaking up. I think my arm speed has been a lot better.
"I've always talked about finishing pitches, and I felt like I wasn't finishing too well early on. When I threw in Rochester, it just felt like I was able to get out in front more and finish a lot more pitches. Even ones that I missed, a lot of times they were down."
Thome off DL, activated for Saturday
MILWAUKEE -- Jim Thome was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list after the Twins' 4-3 loss to the Brewers on Friday. Outfielder Rene Tosoni was optioned to Triple-A Rochester.
Thome had been on the 15-day disabled list since June 2 with a strained left quad, which was related to his strained oblique in early May that kept him out for three weeks. After five at-bats in a simulated game on Wednesday, Thome was deemed healthy enough to return.
He was evaluated after taking batting practice and running the bases prior to Friday's game at Miller Park. After the game, the Twins announced he had been activated for Saturday's game.
"I got out and moved around, and if all goes well I'll be activated tomorrow," Thome said before the game.
Thome was on the DL during the Twins recent hot streak, which he said was fun to watch, and got him excited to return.
With the previous two injuries being related, Thome was also optimistic about his chances to stay injury-free for much, if not all, for the rest of the season.
"I hope so, yeah, that's the goal," Thome said. "I've had a history of lower back issues in the past, so the frustrating part is any time you're rehabbing anything, you want to make sure that everything's good."
Kubel, Span expected to return soon
MILWAUKEE -- Injured outfielders Jason Kubel and Denard Span both had great days back in Minnesota on Friday, according to Twins head trainer Rick McWane.
Kubel had a "very good day" of running on Friday and was scheduled to run the bases on Saturday.
"He's very close," McWane said. "Very encouraging news about him, and Denard as well."
Span played catch on Friday, hit off a tee and, more importantly, had no concussion symptoms.
It was the first time since the concussion that Span had no concussion symptoms after participating in baseball activities.
McWane also updated the status of reliever Kevin Slowey, who continues to rehab in Florida. Slowey will pitch on Saturday night for Class A Advanced Fort Myers.
"Tomorrow night, actually, he's going to pitch for the Miracle," McWane said. "Two to three innings for the Miracle tomorrow night in Bradenton."
Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.