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07/13/08 2:25 PM ET

Slowey's injury affects Twins' rotation

Right-hander's start after All-Star break moved back

DETROIT -- The finger injuries just keep piling up for the Twins.

Right-handed pitcher Kevin Slowey is the latest to suffer from one, as he's battling an infected fingernail on his right middle finger.

Minnesota's coaching staff became aware of the injury on Sunday morning.

"It wasn't an issue until last night, when it started getting really sore," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It wasn't supposed to be an issue, now it's turned into an issue."

Slowey said he noticed a change in his finger when he woke up on Friday morning following his start against Detroit on Thursday. He was then put on antibiotics to help fight the infection. The training staff told him the injury wouldn't prevent him from pitching and that he's available if needed.

But to give Slowey's finger more time to heal, the Twins altered their rotation after the All-Star break. Slowey had been scheduled to start the first game of the second half, but he was moved to the end of the rotation.

"Obviously, this is a good time to have a little break and let it heal up," Slowey said.

Left-hander Glen Perkins will now start the first game back on Friday against the Rangers. The Twins kept Livan Hernandez in line for the second start after asking him his preference of when he'd like to pitch. Gardenhire said they'd had experience with other veterans, like Brad Radke, who often didn't like pitching the first game after the break.

So the rotation will now be Perkins, Hernandez, Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn and Slowey.

Slowey isn't the only Twins player currently battling a finger problem. Nick Punto was not in Minnesota's lineup again on Sunday due to a left ring finger sprain.

Punto said the finger has been bothering him for some time and has progressively gotten worse. Gardenhire tried to see if Punto could field balls on Saturday, but the pain was too great. The skipper said that the injury is similar to the one that sidelined Alexi Casilla for two games during the club's last homestand.

The Twins have endured a total of six finger injuries this season, including those of Slowey, Punto and Casilla. Michael Cuddyer is currently on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained knuckle on his left index finger. He endured a DL stint earlier this year with a dislocated right index finger. Matt Tolbert went on the DL and had surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb in mid-May.

Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.