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06/06/11 10:32 PM ET

Twins activate Liriano, option Slama

CLEVELAND -- The Twins activated left-hander Francisco Liriano from the disabled list after Monday's 6-4 win over the Indians, and he's slated to start Tuesday night at Progressive Field. Right-hander Anthony Slama was optioned to Triple-A Rochester to make room for him on the active roster.

Liriano, who was placed on the disabled list on May 30 (retroactive to May 23) with left shoulder inflammation, last pitched in a game on May 22 at Arizona, allowing two runs over six innings.

Liriano has a 5.73 ERA with 34 strikeouts and 32 walks over 48 2/3 innings this year, but he gave up just three runs over his last two outings with 13 strikeouts in 13 innings. He threw a no-hitter on May 3.

Slama, meanwhile, was recalled on May 31, and did not allow a run over 2 1/3 innings, walking two and striking out three

Twins' lineup bolstered with pair of returns

CLEVELAND -- The Twins strengthened their lineup on Monday against the Indians, as Denard Span and Justin Morneau returned after battling injuries over the weekend.

But Twins manager Ron Gardenhire opted to bat Span third for the first time in his career, leaving Ben Revere and Alexi Casilla at the top of the lineup because they have both been swinging hot bats.

"We just mixed it up a little bit," Gardenhire said. "We're trying to balance our lineup up and down. It looks like entertainment. Span-man is feeling pretty good and he's been one of our best hitters, so he's hitting third."

Span, who missed the previous two games after a collision at home plate on Friday left him with a sore neck, said he was surprised when Gardenhire told him his decision on the lineup.

"It definitely caught me off guard when he told me that," Span said. "I hadn't hit third since I was a senior in high school."

Morneau, who has been plagued by a sore left wrist, made his return as a designated hitter and batted fifth. He'll also likely DH over the next few days before returning to first base.

"I think it helps him out a little bit because he doesn't have to dive around and use his glove because his wrist isn't great," Gardenhire said. "He definitely still feels it, but there's not much we can do about it. He wants to play, so DH is definitely the best route."

Third baseman Danny Valencia also sat out for the first time this season, as Luke Hughes started at third in his place and hit seventh.

"He's played every single game and hasn't been swinging worth a flip," Gardenhire said. "In Kansas City he was pulling off the ball."

Mauer catches five innings in Class A game

CLEVELAND -- Twins trainer Dave Pruemer gave another long report on injured Twins prior to Monday's game against the Indians.

Joe Mauer caught five innings and went 0-for-2 with Class A Fort Myers on Monday night, while Tsuyoshi Nishioka played six innings at shortstop and went 0-for-2 with a walk and a run scored. While they're both rehabbing with the same club, Nishioka is expected to rejoin the Twins sooner, as Mauer still needs to work up to catching back-to-back days.

"Their schedules are pretty close but catching is probably a little more involved than a position player," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "So if Nishi can run and around and play two or three there, we'll get him up to Triple-A. So he may be on a quicker pace than Joe just because he's not ready to catch every day."

Right-handers Kevin Slowey (abdominal strain) and Joe Nathan (right flexor muscle strain) also began throwing programs, while left-hander Glen Perkins (right oblique strain) is scheduled to throw a light bullpen session on Tuesday.

Jim Thome (strained left quad) and Jason Kubel (sprained left foot) also received treatment on their ailments back in Minnesota but have to yet to begin baseball activities.

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.