MINNEAPOLIS -- Less is more right now for Justin Morneau.
The Twins' first baseman has reduced the number of swings he takes daily in batting practice in exchange for -- hopefully -- better durability. Morneau said he's only taking 10-20 less swings. But even a small decrease allows more rest for the sore left wrist that put him on the 15-day disabled list earlier this month.
"Hopefully it's something that will help the soreness and the rest of that stuff," Morneau said. "Right now, I feel pretty good."
Morneau's recent numbers reflect that. He is hitting .290 with four home runs and 12 RBIs in eight games since returning from the DL on May 16. Prior to his DL stint, he hit just .230 with four home runs and nine RBIs in 20 games.
This new approach goes against the 31-year-old's nature. Morneau normally likes to take as many swings as possible, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.
"We have to calm him down," Gardenhire said. "If he goes 0-for, he'd like to go out and take 200 more swings. He's a worker."
As tempting as the extra work may be sometimes, Morneau said managing his wrist will be a balancing act.
"There's times when you feel like you need to put in a lot of extra work to get where you need to be, and I'm just going to have to avoid that," he said. "So it's one of those things where it's a fine line of working hard and not trying to do too much."
Blackburn nearing rehab assignment
MINNEAPOLIS -- Right-hander Nick Blackburn could start a rehab assignment soon, according to Twins manager Ron Gardenhire.
Blackburn, who has an 8.37 ERA in eight starts, was placed on the disabled list on May 17 with a left quad strain. He's scheduled to throw a bullpen on Saturday.
"We're looking at Blackburn maybe going down to rehab to get a couple of starts," Gardenhire said. "Probably in Triple-A, but it depends on the best situation for him. But that's in the works. It hasn't been decided yet. We have to get him healthy."
Reliever Kyle Waldrop is also slated to start another rehab assignment with Class A Fort Myers on Saturday, as he returned to the Twin Cities this week to undergo a precautionary MRI exam on his right elbow.
Waldrop, who is on the disabled list retroactive to March 26 with a strained right elbow, made two scoreless appearances with Fort Myers before dealing with soreness in his elbow.
"I got another look on Monday just to be safe, but it's fine," Waldrop said. "I threw a bullpen today to maintain and then I'll be back with the Miracle tomorrow. So I'll get a couple more games to get ready."
Fellow reliever Alex Burnett felt some discomfort in his right elbow after his one-inning stint against the White Sox on Wednesday, but said he's feeling better.
Burnett said he should be ready to pitch again on Saturday and doesn't think he'll need a stint on the disabled list.
"It's good," Burnett said. "It's more like a stinger, basically. But it feels good, and hopefully everything should be good."
Gardenhire sticking with De Vries in rotation
MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said rookie right-hander Cole De Vries will remain in the rotation after making his first big league start on Thursday against the White Sox.
De Vries, 27, allowed six runs (three earned) on six hits over five-plus innings in his debut. Gardenhire, though, didn't say which day De Vries will make his next outing, but it's expected to be on Tuesday against the A's at Target Field.
"He did just fine," Gardenhire said. "We plan on him starting again in five days or somewhere in there."
De Vries, who is an Eden Prairie native and starred at the University of Minnesota, said he was pleased by his first outing after having a day to look back on it.
"As a first outing, especially my first big league outing, I'm happy with it," De Vries said. "Obviously, I want us to win really bad and wish I would've been able to get through that sixth inning without any more runs, but that's the game. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't."
Prospect Benson out after wrist surgery
MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins prospect Joe Benson had surgery on his left wrist on Friday in Fort Myers, Fla., according to general manager Terry Ryan.
Benson, ranked as Minnesota's No. 5 prospect by MLB.com entering the season, is expected to be out six to eight weeks.
"He had surgery on the hook of the hamate bone," Ryan said. "It had nothing to do with his struggles. He did it just recently."
Benson, 24, began the season at Triple-A Rochester but struggled, as the outfielder hit just .179 with eight extra-base hits in 95 at-bats. He was demoted to Double-A New Britain, but continued to have trouble at the plate, batting just .156 with a homer in 32 at-bats.
It came after he hit .284 with 16 homers, 14 stolen bases and 29 doubles in 114 games at Double-A last year before being called up by the Twins in September. In 21 games with the Twins, Benson hit .239 with six doubles, a triple and two stolen bases.
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. Jordan Garretson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.