MINNEAPOLIS -- Given their work together in the Minor Leagues, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire decided to stick with Chris Herrmann as his catcher with rookie left-hander Andrew Albers on the mound on Monday against the Indians.
The pair worked well in Albers' Major League debut against the Royals on Tuesday, as he threw 8 1/3 scoreless innings, falling just two outs short of a shutout in his first career start.
"They worked together in the Minors, and he's familiar with him and he likes working with him," Gardenhire said. "Their first game together was pretty good so we didn't want to screw with that too much."
With Herrmann behind the plate, Joe Mauer served as designated hitter, which gave Josh Willingham his first start in left field since being activated from the disabled list on Friday. Willingham had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on July 3, and he is expected to see regular action in left field moving forward.
"He has no problems," Gardenhire said. "His leg feels great -- says it feels better than in Spring Training. So he has no issues. So he's gonna play. It gives us an opportunity to move [Oswaldo] Arcia to right and DH Mauer tonight. We're going to need that DH for other guys."
Ramirez symptom-free, reinstated from DL
MINNEAPOLIS -- With infielder Jamey Carroll getting traded to the Royals for a player to be named later or cash on Sunday, the Twins activated outfielder Wilkin Ramirez from the disabled list on Monday to take his spot on the roster.
Ramirez, who was originally placed on the seven-day concussion DL on May 26, had missed 69 games with concussion-like symptoms. He needed two separate rehab assignments, because he retriggered the symptoms while diving for a ball with Class A Advanced Fort Myers in late June and sat out for another month.
But Ramirez said he's been symptom-free for about 15-20 days, and he hit .172 (5-for-29) with a double in seven games with Double-A New Britain just before rejoining the Twins. He also batted .273 (3-for-11) with a double and a homer in four games with the Gulf Coast League Twins before being transferred to Double-A.
"It was tough, but I'm here now," Ramirez said. "So I'm just here to do whatever I can to help this team win. I'm happy to be here. It's great to be back here."
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was also pleased to have Ramirez back, as the Twins have been without a backup center fielder to Clete Thomas since Aaron Hicks was optioned to Triple-A Rochester on Aug. 1.
"He's been through a long road," Gardenhire said. "He had his ups and downs with it. Concussions are always the unknown, so it's nice to see him doing well. And now I have a backup center fielder, which is a good thing."
• Twins general manager Terry Ryan hinted that the Twins are expected to receive cash instead of a player in the deal that sent Carroll to the Royals.
"There was a chance to get him to a club that's in playoff contention, and we're not," Ryan said. "They needed a player in the middle infield, and we have depth in that spot. So we made the move for a few reasons. We had depth, and he's in a point in his career where it would be nice where he's playing for more of a contender, so we sent him to the Royals. We aren't going to get a return on this thing to worry about."
• Outfielders Aaron Hicks (heel) and Darin Mastroianni (knee) have been out since Saturday at Triple-A Rochester for precautionary reasons. But Ryan said the injuries are minor and both are expected to return to action early this week.
• Left-hander Scott Diamond, who was replaced in Minnesota's rotation by fellow left-hander Albers, tossed a five-hit shutout for Triple-A Rochester on Sunday. He didn't walk a batter and lowered his ERA to 2.40 ERA in two starts since being optioned on Aug. 1, after posting a 5.52 ERA in 20 starts with the Twins.
"He pitched well yesterday, there's no question about that," Ryan said. "We'll see how he progresses from that start. One start does not make the rest of the summer."
• Left-hander Pat Dean was named the International League Pitcher of the Week for the period of Aug. 5-11, after going 1-0 with a 1.23 ERA in two starts with Triple-A Rochester. Right-hander Jose Berrios, ranked as the Twins' No. 6 prospect according to MLB.com, was named the Midwest League Pitcher of the Week for Aug. 5-11. He threw 7 1/3 scoreless innings with seven strikeouts and two hits allowed.