7/25/2014 11:50 P.M. ET
Mauer hits soft toss, but no live pitching yet
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins first baseman Joe Mauer has progressed to hitting soft toss on Friday, but he's still not sure when he'll hit against live pitching.
Mauer, who has been on the 15-day disabled list since July 2 with a strained right oblique, has been taking infield practice at first base and hitting in the cages this week. But his next step will be taking batting practice, and he's not sure when that will come.
"I'm just going through the hitting progression," Mauer said.
There's still no timetable for Mauer's return until he starts facing live pitching, according to Twins general manager Terry Ryan.
Twins recall Darnell, option Polanco
MINNEAPOLIS -- With right-hander Kyle Gibson still dealing with lower back stiffness, the Twins recalled left-hander Logan Darnell from Triple-A Rochester to start against the White Sox on Saturday.
The Twins optioned infielder Jorge Polanco to Double-A New Britain to make room for Darnell after Friday's 9-5 loss to the White Sox. Polanco was recalled on Thursday, and he appeared in Friday's game as a defensive replacement at shortstop, going 0-for-1 with a strikeout.
Gibson played catch and threw off the mound on Friday, but he has yet to throw a bullpen session since feeling tightness in his back during his bullpen on Monday. Gibson was originally scheduled to start on Wednesday but saw his start pushed back to Saturday. The Twins have now set Tuesday as a target date for Gibson to return.
"He played a little catch today and felt fine," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We'll see how he feels tomorrow. He has to throw a bullpen. He can't just go out there and go. But today he played catch and did some throwing off the mound in tennis shoes. This is a young pitcher we think the world of so we're going to make sure we do everything right."
Darnell, 25, is making his second appearance with the Twins this season. He threw three hitless innings in relief against the Indians on May 6.
He's served as a starter the whole season at Rochester, posting a 3.43 ERA with 73 strikeouts and 40 walks in 94 1/3 innings. His last outing came on Sunday, when he gave up two runs on six hits over 6 1/3 innings against Norfolk.
Hughes feels better, expects to make next start
MINNEAPOLIS -- Right-hander Phil Hughes felt better than expected after being hit on his right shin by a comebacker on Thursday, and is likely to make his next start.
Hughes left Thursday's 5-2 loss in the fourth inning after suffering a right shin contusion upon being hit by a comebacker from White Sox slugger Adam Dunn.
But Hughes came in on Friday feeling better, and the Twins believe he won't miss a start as a result. The Twins also have an off-day on Monday to give Hughes a little extra time.
"He's sore but he definitely says he can go if he's needed, so I think he'll make his next start," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He's sore, which is expected, but it's not as bad as he thought."
Pitching prospect Stewart hits Minor League DL
MINNEAPOLIS -- Top pitching prospect Kohl Stewart was placed on the 7-day Minor League disabled list with right shoulder impingement on Friday, Class A Cedar Rapids announced.
Stewart, ranked as Minnesota's No. 4 prospect and baseball's No. 31 overall prospect by MLB.com, last started for Cedar Rapids on July 17. He was scheduled to start on Wednesday, but saw his start scratched because of shoulder soreness.
"He has a shoulder problem but I don't think it's a big problem," Twins general manager Terry Ryan said. "I think he'll be all right."
The right-hander tossed five scoreless innings in his last outing to improve to 3-5 with a 2.42 ERA in 17 starts this year. The 19-year-old has struck out 58 and walked 23 in 81 2/3 innings.
Stewart was originally selected by the Twins as the No. 4 overall pick in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft.