© 2008 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

07/28/08 8:00 PM ET

Gomez out of lineup, but available

Minnesota center fielder says sore back is improving

MINNEAPOLIS -- Center fielder Carlos Gomez was not in the Twins' starting lineup for Monday's contest against the White Sox, but his sore back felt good enough that he was available off the bench if needed.

Gomez, who has been out of the lineup since crashing into the outfield wall in Cleveland on Friday night, was able to run, hit and take fly balls during batting practice without a problem.

"It's much better," Gomez said of his back. "The pain is still there, but I can play."

Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said he expects Gomez to be back in the starting lineup for Tuesday's game against Chicago. For now, the skipper was just happy to get another able body back on his bench -- especially a right-handed hitter.

"He told me he's available for tonight's game if I need him, and that's a good thing," Gardenhire said on Monday. "Our righties came back and got some big hits for us [Sunday] off the lefties. So we'll see what happens."

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