8/29/2013 5:20 P.M. ET
Willingham continues to play despite claim
By Rhett Bollinger and Kelly Erickson / MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- It was business as usual for Josh Willingham on Thursday, even though he was claimed on waivers by the Orioles on Wednesday, as he was in the lineup, batting fourth and starting in left field against the Royals. He went 0-for-2 with a walk in the 3-1 loss to the Royals.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire declined to comment on the situation, given the confidentiality of the waiver process, as Willingham is still on the roster and he wanted to put his best team on the field.
Willingham was placed on waivers Monday, and the Twins have until noon ET on Friday to work out a deal with the Orioles or pull him back off waivers.
The Twins could also let the O's take Willingham and the rest of his contract, but that scenario is not likely, as the two clubs are trying to work out a deal, according to a source. The 34-year-old is due roughly $1.25 million the rest of this year and $7 million next year.
Willingham has had trouble following up his impressive 2012 campaign, when he hit 35 homers en route to winning the Silver Slugger Award. He's dealt with a knee injury this season -- and ultimately underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in early July -- and is hitting just .212/.343/.386 with 12 homers and 45 RBIs in 89 games.
"Last year he had a tremendous year," Twins general manager Terry Ryan said. "This year, it's been inconsistent. Some of it is injury-wise. Some of it, and I want to preface this to get it right, it seems like he's been nicked up here and there. The knee set him back and he's been trying to catch up. So he hasn't had as good a year but that doesn't diminish this guy is a valuable piece to any lineup."
One wrench in a potential Willingham trade is that Orioles also claimed Mariners first baseman/outfielder Michael Morse on waivers on Thursday, according to a CBSSports.com report. Like Willingham, Morse is a power-hitting right-handed hitter, so the Orioles could ultimate acquire Morse instead.
Deduno, Ramirez injured in loss to Royals
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins had two players leave Thursday's 3-1 loss to the Royals with injuries, as right fielder Wilkin Ramirez exited with a left shin contusion and right-hander Samuel Deduno left his start after three innings with right shoulder soreness. Ramirez is day to day, and Deduno said he wasn't sure if he'll make his next scheduled start.
Ramirez left the game in the fifth inning after fouling a pitch off his left leg. Facing Royals left-hander Bruce Chen with one out in the fifth, Ramirez fouled an 0-1 slider off the leg. He remained on the ground for several minutes until he was helped off by Twins trainer Tony Leo and first-base coach Scott Ullger.
Ramirez wasn't available to the media after the game, as he was still being looked at by team trainers. He's scheduled to undergo X-rays and an MRI exam Thursday night.
"He got hit pretty hard," said Twins bench coach Terry Steinbach, who took over for manager Ron Gardenhire after he was ejected. "He went down, and the term we'll use is day to day. He's in the back room getting checked out."
Chris Herrmann replaced Ramirez and finished off the at-bat by grounding back to Chen. Herrmann took over in right field for Ramirez, leaving infielder Doug Bernier as the only healthy player on the bench for the Twins. Outfielder Oswaldo Arcia is still nursing a sore left wrist and isn't swinging a bat yet.
Deduno struggled, giving up three runs on four hits and a walk in three innings. He's been dealing with biceps tendinitis the last two weeks and the Twins took him out for precautionary reasons.
"I felt better than the last time, but tomorrow they're going to do the MRI and see where I'm at," Deduno said. "When I want to throw my fastball hard and be aggressive, that's when I feel it. I wanted to keep pitching, but they wanted to see what was wrong with my shoulder."
Gardenhire ejected after arguing warning
MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was ejected for arguing with home-plate umpire Alan Porter during the second inning of Thursday afternoon's 3-1 loss to the Royals.
Gardenhire took issue with Porter when he warned both benches after right-hander Samuel Deduno hit Justin Maxwell with a 2-2 cutter that registered 91 mph.
Maxwell wasn't happy with Deduno after being plunked, as catcher Ryan Doumit had to get between them as Maxwell went to first base. It marked the second straight plate appearance Maxwell was hit, as he was also struck by reliever Anthony Swarzak in the ninth inning of the Royals' 8-1 win on Wednesday.
"I think there's a rule you can't argue that, so as soon as Gardy went out there he was ejected," said bench coach Terry Steinbach, who took over as manager in Gardenhire's absence. "Sammy didn't have his 'A' control today. So when a ball takes off like that and they warn you, it's frustrating."
Deduno also maintained that he didn't mean to hit Maxwell with the pitch, as he struggled with his control all afternoon. He's also hit nine batters in 18 starts this year.
"I don't want to hit somebody with two strikes," Deduno said. "I went inside to him. I made a pretty good pitch and it hit him. So I was surprised a little bit [by his reaction]."
It was the fourth time this season that Gardenhire has been ejected. He's also been ejected 66 times in his career, which puts him in a tie for ninth place all-time among managers with Joe Torre.
No timetable on Mauer's return from concussion
MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins catcher Joe Mauer met with the media on Thursday for the first time since sustaining a concussion on Aug. 19. He said he's feeling better, but that there's no timetable for his return.
Mauer suffered the concussion after being hit by a foul tip while catching and was placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list the next day after feeling dizzy during batting practice in Detroit.
He was able to do light exercises for the first time on Wednesday at Target Field, and said he's doing better after spending the last week resting at home. But he said he's still feeling some symptoms such as sensitivity to light and sound.
"My symptoms have been getting better, which is good," Mauer said. "Even the things [Wednesday], I'm definitely conscious of the way I'm feeling and exercising and taking a break for a little while to see where I'm at. But it's been going good, so hopefully it'll be another good day today."
Mauer said it's too early to tell when he'll make his return. He's not making the trip to Texas for the series against the Rangers but will ramp up his activities while the Twins are away. He added that he plans on playing again this season.
"Shutting it down never entered my mind," Mauer said. "I want to be out there. Obviously I want to be smart about it, but I want to get out there and play."
But Mauer said he hasn't talked to the Twins about how much he'll catch this season when he makes his return. But general manager Terry Ryan said he's hopeful Mauer will be back behind the plate this year.
"I hope so," Ryan said. "That's his position. You can get hurt on a baseball field wherever you go. Even at DH."
Arcia not yet swinging after wrist injury
MINNEAPOLIS -- Outfielder Oswaldo Arcia continues to recover from a sore left wrist, but he isn't taking any swings.
Arcia will travel this weekend with the team this week to Texas and Houston, but he will continue to receive treatment and rest.
"We're going to back him off as much as we possibly can to let it heal," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It won't do us any good to almost get there, swing and then irritate it again. We're backing him off. Until he says there's no more pain, then we'll go from there."
Gardenhire noted that at a different point in the season Arcia would most likely go on the disabled list, but seeing as September callups are only a few days away, it doesn't make sense to do it now.
While the Twins expect to get some extra bodies on the roster come Sept. 1, Triple-A Rochester is also in the middle of a playoff push. The Twins plan on letting Rochester finish out the year the best it can.
"We'll probably get some help right after Sept. 1," Gardenhire said. "People that we feel we can get up here without hurting their chances and that we have talked about bringing up here for immediate help. After their done down there, we'll probably get a few more."
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. Kelly Erickson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.