08/02/10 8:55 PM ET
Morneau takes part in light workout
By Adam Berry / MLB.com
Gardenhire couldn't say for certain if there was a chance Morneau would rejoin the Twins for their four-game series against the Rays in St. Petersburg, but Morneau hit in the cage "lightly" back in Minneapolis on Monday before calling it a day.
"A little light workout today, then he pretty much shut it down," Gardenhire said. "He wasn't feeling as good today as he did yesterday, but still fine. We'll just go day-to-day with him."
Morneau, on the 15-day disabled list since July 8 after sustaining a concussion in Toronto on July 7, was scheduled to take batting practice with the Twins on Sunday at Target Field but opted out at the last minute, though Gardenhire said it had more to do with the Family Day crowd than any sort of setback.
Morneau also had a light workout Sunday, running and throwing on the field, and he remained in the dugout to watch the game with his teammates for the first time in three weeks -- an encouraging sign that he had made a big step toward a full recovery.
Gardenhire praised the versatility of Michael Cuddyer for helping make the loss of Morneau a little less noticeable from a defensive perspective. Cuddyer made his 27th start at first base this season on Monday night, and he has seen significant time in right field (60 starts) and at third base (13 starts).
"We've been able to move people around," Gardenhire said. "Michael Cuddyer is huge because he's a guy that can go play a lot of different places. That's been the key for us, having some people that can move around and fill in some when you need it, especially like Michael at first who can fill in when Morny's out and so forth."
Sore shoulder keeps Mauer out of lineup
ST. PETERSBURG -- Joe Mauer was not in the lineup Monday night against the Rays, but Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said before the game that the catcher would be available to pinch-hit if necessary.
Mauer had a cortisone shot in his right shoulder Saturday night, sat out Sunday with shoulder tendinitis and was feeling better Monday afternoon.
"A little sore still from the shot, but we'll give him another day-to-day," Gardenhire said. "He's available to pinch-hit, and we'll see where he's at come tomorrow. He should be available to pinch-hit today, taking some light swings in the cage."
Mauer's right shoulder had been bothering him since a foul tip bounced off it during the Twins' pre-All Star break road trip to Toronto and Detroit. An MRI showed no structural damage, so the cortisone injection should be enough to ease the pain.
"His arm feels a lot better, but it's still going to be a little sore," Gardenhire said. "We'd like to give him two days if we can possibly do that."
Drew Butera started at catcher Monday night, and Gardenhire said he was happy to have depth at the position, as Jose Morales can provide a little backup after being called up from Triple-A Rochester on July 26. In the meantime, Gardenhire said, Mauer will just have to wait for the cortisone shot to run its course.
"We have to let it work. Time will tell," Gardenhire said. "It's about letting the medicine taking over now, and hopefully, he'll get in the right spot and feel better. He feels better today than he did yesterday."
Hudson swings from both sides of plate
ST. PETERSBURG -- Orlando Hudson took another step forward in his rehab from a right oblique strain Monday.
The switch-hitting second baseman, on the 15-day disabled list since July 24, hit right-handed with the team on the field during pregame batting practice, and he was scheduled to test out the injury by batting left-handed off the tee in the cage before Monday night's game.
"Left-handed's where he has the problem, so he was going to try to take some early swings off the tee," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He'll probably hit during BP if everything goes well and he's not feeling it too bad."
Traveling with the team, Hudson took some swings from both sides of the plate for the first time during his rehab. He hit right-handed in the cage Sunday in Minneapolis. Although he had hoped to avoid a stint on the disabled list, Hudson's recovery at least seems to be going exactly as planned.
Alexi Casilla made his ninth start of the season at second base and was slotted in the second spot in the order Monday night. Batting .282, the switch-hitting Casilla has stepped up during Hudson's absence.
"Alexi Casilla's had time as the starting second baseman, and Orlando goes down, Alexi's got to come back in and step up," Gardenhire said. "He's a good young player. A little depth doesn't hurt."
Span playing near hometown of Tampa
ST. PETERSBURG -- While every series is critical when a team is locked in a potential playoff battle, the Twins' four-game series at Tropicana Field will be a little special for Denard Span.
Playing just across the bay from his hometown of Tampa, Fla., Span will be under the watchful eyes of his family and friends as the Twins take on the Rays. While playing in front of familiar faces and spending time at home can be a distraction for some, manager Ron Gardenhire thought Span would be able to handle the situation.
"We've seen it work both ways," Gardenhire said. "Guys put a little too much pressure on themselves, but I think Span's played enough now in the big leagues that he shouldn't worry about it too much here."
Gardenhire added that players have to deal with playing in their hometowns fairly often, even noting that catcher Joe Mauer -- born in St. Paul, Minn. -- does it every time the Twins take the field in Minneapolis. The greatest impact it can have on the field comes when players try to do too much, simply because they are looking to impress those who come to the game just to see them.
"Some guys handle it really good, and some guys get absolutely worn down and try to do a little too much," Gardenhire said. "We always just have to wait and see how they react. It should be that once you get on the baseball field -- all the other stuff just goes away, and that's kind of the way you have to deal with it."
But, Gardenhire added, there is one lasting effect players feel when inviting family and friends to see a game in their hometown.
"The biggest thing is that your ticket list takes a hit -- and your billfold," Gardenhire joked. "No tickets are free."
Adam Berry is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.