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09/09/10 12:36 AM ET

Mijares tosses successful bullpen session

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins had better news to share Wednesday on their other injured left-hander, Jose Mijares.

Mijares, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Aug. 16, threw another bullpen session on Wednesday and practiced fielding off the mound which included him covering first base. He's still on track to throw a simulated game on Friday in Cleveland.

"It went good," Mijares said of his workout. "A little pain but I feel good."

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said the team will wait to see how Mijares fares on Friday before guessing on a date when he might return. But it's possible that Mijares could be available out of the bullpen for the Twins as soon as Sunday or Monday if everything goes well.

Mijares has thrown just 25 2/3 innings this season, having made two separate trips to the disabled list. He said his arm feels good and perhaps the best news for the Twins is that Mijares has dropped a little bit of weight while recovering from the knee surgery.

While he hopes to pitch quite a few more innings for the team once he returns to the bullpen, Mijares said he also plans to pitch in winter ball in Venezuela this offseason. It's something that Mijares didn't do last offseason, and he feels that it will help him to keep his weight down and keep him healthy for Spring Training next year.

Fuentes' MRI reveals no structural damage

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins received good news on left-hander Brian Fuentes on Wednesday when an MRI revealed no structural damage in his lower back.

The Twins sent Fuentes to get an MRI after he arrived at the ballpark with more stiffness in his back, one day after he threw a bullpen session at about 70 percent effort.

"He's pretty stiff," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said before Wednesday's game "He doesn't want to take a chance, and so [team doctors] said let's get an MRI and see where we're at and what's going on."

Fuentes felt his back initially "lock up" on him while warming up in the bullpen on Sept. 1 during a game at Target Field against the Tigers. At the time, he said he'd had similar issues a few times in his career and he didn't think it would take more than a few days for him to be available out of the bullpen, although he's now missed a week of action.

But with the MRI coming back clean, Gardenhire said the team will likely have Fuentes try to throw on Friday in Cleveland to see how his back feels.

"Everything checked out good, so now we just have to get him out and pitching," Gardenhire said. "That's probably peace of mind for him. ... If you know there is nothing there then maybe you'll feel more comfortable going out and flipping it. We'll see."

This isn't the first time this season that Fuentes has dealt with back problems. He missed 16 days back in April when he was with the Angels after going on the 15-day disabled list with a similar back issue.

Fuentes has faced just one batter since the Twins acquired him on Aug. 27 in a waiver trade with the Angels in exchange for right-handed pitching prospect Loek Van Mil. Fuentes recorded the last out of a game against Seattle, retiring Russell Branyan for a save on Aug. 28 -- his first day with the club.

Thome day-to-day with abdominal strain

MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins designated hitter Jim Thome was scratched from Wednesday's lineup with a mild abdominal strain.

The Twins said that the move was for precautionary reasons and that Thome is day-to-day.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that Thome first felt something high in the muscle while he was doing cage work after batting practice. He went in the skipper's office at 6:30 p.m. and the two decided it was best not to take a chance by playing him.

"We called it Greinke-itis," Gardenhire joked.

With Gardenhire's joke, the feeling appeared to be that the injury wasn't anything serious.

"We sure hope not," Gardenhire said. "You just never know with ab strains. Wait and see how he does when he comes in Friday. He doesn't seem to think it's much. Kind of felt more like a cramp. Have to wait and see."

Jose Morales was slotted in as the Twins' DH in place of Thome, batting seventh. Left fielder Delmon Young moved up a spot in the order to bat sixth.

Thome had played in three of the last four games for the Twins, reaching base in 11 of 12 plate appearances while hitting four home runs. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Thome became the first player to hit a homer in three straight games at age 40 or older since Barry Bonds did it in September 2006 at age 42. The last Twins player to do so was Dave Winfield in July 1993 at age 41.

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