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07/21/08 7:28 PM ET
Punto reports progress on sore finger
Twins put Morneau back in lineup, await news on Cuddyer
By Kelly Thesier / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- Shortstop Nick Punto was not in the starting lineup for Monday night's game against the Yankees, but he said his sore left ring finger felt good enough that he could be used as a defensive replacement late in the game. But although Punto reported feeling good enough to play, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he didn't want to start Punto until he saw the infielder do all of his pregame work without any problems. Before Monday's game, Punto fielded ground balls and took swings during batting practice for the first time since receiving a cortisone shot in his left ring finger on Friday night. "It's getting better," Punto said of his finger. "It's tolerable, and that's all I'm asking for. I don't need it to be 100 percent, as long as I can swing a bat." As for the club's other hand injuries, first baseman Justin Morneau was back in the lineup one day after taking a pitch off the base of his right hand from Rangers closer C.J. Wilson in his final at-bat of Sunday's game. Morneau said the hand was "good enough" to play and he didn't have any trouble swinging during early batting practice. The Twins were also waiting for an update on outfielder Michael Cuddyer, who did not travel with the team to New York. He remained in Minneapolis to undergo a CT scan on his left hand on Monday. Cuddyer has been on the 15-day disabled list since June 28 with what was diagnosed as a strained tendon in his left index finger. But Cuddyer has continued to experience soreness in the palm of that left hand, prompting the decision to have the scan to see if there is anything that the outfielder's previous MRI missed. Gardenhire said the team was unable to get the results of the scan on Monday, as hand specialist Dr. Tom Varecka couldn't read it due to being in surgery all day. Varecka is scheduled to read the scan's results on Tuesday. For Gardenhire, the hope is that the club will get some answers from the scan -- whether it's good news or not. "I think we need to find out exactly what's going on, and I think he needs to find out," Gardenhire said. "Not being able to have it really get any better where he can start doing baseball stuff is really frustrating for him."
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.