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02/18/2013 4:05 PM ET

Plouffe limited in camp, battling sore calf

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Third baseman Trevor Plouffe is dealing with a sore right calf and has been limited in early workouts, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said Monday.

But the injury is minor, and he's only being held out for precautionary reasons. He's yet to participate in any of the infield drills and hasn't been running, either.

"He's battling a calf," Gardenhire said. "He can do a few things, but he can't run right now so it is day to day."

Plouffe, though, is still set to be the club's third baseman this season as Gardenhire all but handed him the job with a ringing endorsement after he hit .235 with 24 homers in 119 games last year, including 95 at third base.

"He'll be fine," Gardenhire said. "We all know about the throwing part and all those things. I know Plouffe worked his butt off out there trying to get better. That's half the battle. You've got a guy willing to go out and do extra work -- tried a lot of different things. The advantage he has now is he's the third baseman. It's not like he's got to take ground balls in left field."

Right-hander Pelfrey rehabbing ahead of schedule

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Monday marked the first day of live batting practice for Twins pitchers and catchers, and no one was more pleased to participate than right-hander Mike Pelfrey.

Pelfrey, who had Tommy John surgery on May 1, remains ahead of schedule and threw 38 pitches in a live bullpen session against Drew Butera, Wilkin Ramirez and Chris Colabello. He estimated that he also threw about 40 more pitches off the mound to warm up.

"I forgot how much fun that was," Pelfrey said. "It had been a long time. That was my reward for busting my butt the last nine-and-a-half months. I had a blast out there and wanted to keep going. I felt great. It surprised me how well the ball was coming out of my hand."

The former Met said he's feeling good enough that he'll be on the same schedule as the rest of the pitchers in camp, and he's set to throw again on Wednesday and on Friday. He threw all of his pitches in his bullpen session -- without the use of the protective L-screen -- and was generally pleased with the exception of his slider, which he didn't throw for a strike.

Pelfrey also maintained that'll he'll be ready for the start of the season. The Twins open against the Tigers on April 1 at 3:10 p.m. CT.

"I'm going to be ready," he said. "I guess it's hard for some people to believe, maybe. But I feel great. There are some doctors who are a little more aggressive. Dr. James Andrews is that way, and that's who I went to. So I have no doubt in my mind that Opening Day, I'll be on the team."

Righty Harden taking it slow, set to throw Tuesday

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Right-hander Rich Harden, who is coming back from shoulder surgery, took two days off to recover after throwing a bullpen session on Saturday. He is scheduled to throw again on Tuesday.

Harden, who had the operation last January, didn't suffer any setbacks but is just taking it slow, according to Twins manager Ron Gardenhire.

"Right now he throws a bullpen and needs a few days," Gardenhire said. "He's feeling great, and we want to keep it that way. It's going to be a real slow process with him. Actually, my pitching coach is going to sit down with him either today or tomorrow and kind of map it out -- kind of map out a little program for him and see where we get to by the middle of March and where he is at.''

The Twins still haven't officially decided whether they'll try to use the former Athletic as a starter or a reliever; they'll make that decision later this spring once he gets stretched out. Harden isn't on the 40-man roster, because he was signed to a Minor League deal in December.

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.