MINNEAPOLIS -- Sam Fuld, who has not played since May 7 after sustaining a concussion on May 2, took batting practice on the field without any issues on Wednesday, and he could begin a rehab assignment as early as Friday.
Fuld started light baseball activities last Wednesday upon meeting with concussion specialist Dr. Micky Collins in Pittsburgh. Collins cleared Fuld for baseball activities, and the outfielder has been able to ramp it up every day since without any issues.
"I really turned a corner about a week ago since I got back from Pittsburgh," Fuld said. "I started pushing myself more physically, and as a result I actually feel better. I feel really good. I've been symptom-free for over a week."
Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said the plan was for Fuld to work out early at Target Field on Thursday before heading for Double-A New Britain that night. Fuld would then begin his rehab assignment Friday or Saturday, but there was no timetable for his return.
Fuld said he received peace of mind after meeting with Collins. He started playing catch on the field once he got back from Pittsburgh, and he has been taking batting practice in the cages and catching fly balls without any issues in recent days.
"That was huge just to hear from one of the experts in the field and to be reassured, because with injuries like that there's always fear about the long-term issues," Fuld said. "So it was nice to know he doesn't think it'll be an issue moving forward, and his message was really to push myself more and recalibrate my system."
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said there was "no chance" Fuld would be activated from the 15-day disabled list without a rehab assignment because he had been out nearly a month and needed to get through playing games without any issues to be activated.
"It wouldn't be fair to him," Gardenhire said. "There are still some questions in his mind. He still needs to see live pitching and run around, because we can't simulate games. He can take BP and run around on the field, but you can't simulate diving and all those things in batting practice. He needs to slide into second and all those things. Plus, he's probably not ready for Major League pitching."
Dozier has high praise for rookie Santana
MINNEAPOLIS -- Brian Dozier is a big fan of new center fielder Danny Santana.
"Santana can really run," Dozier said. "He can do some things that I probably can't do. He's exciting, a big-time threat on the bases. He's fun to watch."
The second baseman even offered an All-Star comparison.
"He reminds me of a young Jose Reyes," Dozier said. "Lightning-fast hands. Can run and hit for power. He's gonna be pretty good."
Santana, rated the Twins' No. 10 prospect by MLB.com entering the year before he was called up as a shortstop on May 5, is the answer in center field right now while the Twins wait for Aaron Hicks to step up his game, Sam Fuld to recover from a concussion and top prospect Byron Buxton to make his way through the Minors.
"I like him," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I don't always have the final say, but I like him a lot."
The 23-year-old has started the past five games and owned a four-game hitting streak entering Wednesday. He also had yet to make an error in 21 outfield chances.
"I'm not worried about him like I was earlier," Gardenhire said. "Right now, this is where we need him at the most."
Nerve issue in elbow ongoing for Pelfrey
MINNEAPOLIS -- Mike Pelfrey is scheduled to meet with Dr. James Andrews on Monday to get a second opinion on his right elbow, as the anti-inflammatory medicines haven't helped the nerve issue in the right-hander's elbow.
Pelfrey also met with Dr. Thomas Varecka in Minnesota on Tuesday after receiving a diagnosis of nerve irritation and scar tissue in his elbow last week. Pelfrey, who has been on the 15-day disabled list since May 2 with a strained groin, originally complained of shoulder discomfort before the nerve irritation was found in his elbow.
Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said the club would wait until Pelfrey met with Andrews before releasing any more information. But surgery could not be ruled out, especially after the anti-inflammatories did not help as much as Pelfrey had hoped.
"He has something going on with that elbow," Antony said. "We've got him on anti-inflammatories, but I think there's more to it than that, and the doctors do as well."
Pelfrey had Tommy John elbow-reconstruction surgery performed by Andrews on May 1, 2012. But a recent MRI exam on his elbow found no structural damage, as Pelfrey's issue is believed to be related to the ulnar nerve and not the ulnar collateral ligament.
Gardenhire, Plouffe reflect on being drafted
MINNEAPOLIS -- One day before MLB's First-Year Player Draft was scheduled to commence, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire reflected on his own Draft experience in 1979.
The former University of Texas infielder was in the midst of the College World Series when he was picked by the New York Mets.
"I didn't know whether I was gonna go in the Army or the baseball Draft," said Gardenhire, a sixth-round pick. "Probably the Army would've been better suited for me, as it turned out with my swing.
"It was a screwed up thing, because it really distracted from where we were at and what we had done. Guys who got drafted, guys who didn't get drafted -- a lot of disappointment."
Third baseman Trevor Plouffe, a former infielder at Crespi Carmelite High School in Encino, Calif., had a less exciting Draft story when he was taken by the Twins in the first ound of the 2004 Draft.
"I was just huddled around the computer," Plouffe said. "I remember getting the call from [general manager] Terry Ryan. I didn't know what to make of it at that point. But I'm blessed to be in this organization."
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. Alex M. Smith is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.