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Tag:Joe Nathan
Posted on: October 25, 2011 4:34 pm
 

Twins decline Joe Nathan's option

NathanBy Evan Brunell

For all news, check out the CBSSports.com free agency tracker.

The Twins have declined closer Joe Nathan's $12.5 million option, the team announced.

Nathan will receive $2 million as part of his buyout. The righty made a solid return to the majors after missing all of 2011 thanks to Tommy John surgery. The 36-year-old had a 4.84 ERA in 44 2/3 innings, although he pitched more impressively than the ERA may indicate. He punched out 43 and walked 14, and there will be no shortage of teams that are interested in Nathan's services, either as a setup man or closer.

The Twins will be one of those teams, as GM Bill Smith said the club is interested in resigning Nathan. Given closer Matt Capps is also a free agent, there will be a spot for Nathan should he re-up with the team, which he has previously expressed an interest in doing so. After saving 14 of 17 games, he now has 261 saves for his career, with all but one coming with the Twins franchise.

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Posted on: October 22, 2011 3:28 pm
Edited on: October 24, 2011 4:51 pm
 

Free-agent position rankings: Papelbon leads RP



By C. Trent Rosecrans
 

With the free agent reliever market, it always seems to be buyer-beware, but every year teams overspend for closers and setup men. While not exactly a bumper crop this year, there are some good arms available, even if the top closers would all prefer to stay with their current teams. Still, we all know those preferences can go out the window when a higher offer comes.

Jonathan Papelbon1. Jonathan Papelbon: After a disappointing 2010, Papelbon returned to form in 2011, despite recording his lowest save total (31) since becoming the Red Sox closer. Not only was his ERA (2.94) down from 2010, he had his best strikeout rate (12.2 per nine innings) since 2007 and lowest walk rate (1.40 per nine innings) since 2008. His xFIP was 2.16, the lowest of his career. At 31, he's still an elite closer and the best available on the market. The Red Sox had been said to be interested in bringing him back and they still have the payroll to absorb a high-priced closer. Still, don't expect Papelbon to take a home-town discount.
Possible teams:  Red Sox, Cubs, Angels, Phillies

Heath Bell2. Heath Bell: When the Padres decided not to trade Bell during the season, it appeared he would be staying in San Diego. However, when the season ended with Bell not getting an extension, things became less sure. Now, Jed Hoyer is off to the Cubs and Josh Byrnes is in as the new GM. With this much change, things could easily change for Bell, who has said all along he'd prefer to stay in San Diego. The Padres may prefer to spend their money elsewhere. Bell is 34, but coming off his third straight 40-save season. One thing that could be troubling for a team is his falling strikeout rate. After striking out 10.2 per nine innings in 2009 and 11.1 in 2010, he struck out a career-low 7.3 per nine innings in 2011. His strikeout-to-walk ration was a career-low 2.43, although that was due to the lower strikeout numbers instead of more walks. Any team considering spending big money on him will have to seriously think about his age and if he's worth what he may command based on gaudy save numbers. He's also been aided by pitching at spacious Petco Park. The Padres may decide they don't need an All-Star closer and their money could be better spent elsewhere. Bell has said he would accept arbitration if offered.
Possible teams: Padres, Cardinals, Phillies, Mets, Orioles

Ryan Madson3. Ryan Madson: After several attempts earlier in his career to serve as a closer, Madson finally showed the ability to close out games in 2011, finishing with 32 saves in 34 opportunities. He's said he'd prefer to stay in Philadelphia, but that's easy to say during the season. A Scott Boras client, the Nationals have to be considered in the mix for Madson, who struck out 62 batters in 60 2/3 innings, while walking just 16 batters.
Possible teams: Phillies, Nationals, Red Sox

Jose Valverde4. Jose Valverde: The Tigers hold a $9 million club option on Valverde, which is pretty reasonable for a guy who led the majors with 49 saves and didn't blow a single save all season. Valverde's last outing was far from ideal, allowing four earned runs in 1 1/3 innings of Game 4 of the ALCS, but he's still an elite closer (if not exactly the most comfortable guy to watch). Valverde would command big bucks on the open market, but it seems highly unlikely he'll be there.
Possible teams: Tigers

Francisco Cordero5. Francisco Cordero: The Reds probably won't pick up his $12 million option, but he could still stay a Red. Cordero's been a stabilizing influence on the Reds bullpen in his four years in Cincinnati, but for a team like the Reds, it makes little sense to have a closer as the highest-paid player. Reds general manager Walt Jocketty and Cordero have both publicly said they'd like to work out an extension for him to stay in Cincinnati. It's similar to what the Reds did with Bronson Arroyo last offseason. The team is moving Aroldis Chapman to the rotation, so there's no real in-house candidate to fill in for Cordero if he leaves, so it makes sense to work out a deal. That said, someone could still pop in and make a bigger offer. The Brewers thought they had a deal with Cordero before he left for the Reds, so history could repeat itself.
Possible teams: Reds, Nationals, Mets, Orioles, Blue Jays

Francisco Rodriguez6. Francisco Rodriguez: After being traded to the Brewers, Rodriguez was not used as the team's closer, and said as a free agent, he'd like the opportunity to close again. That's not going to come in Milwaukee, where John Axford has established himself as the Brewers closer. However, after the Brewers' loss in the NLCS, owner Mark Attanasio made sure to point out just how important Rodriguez was to the team's bullpen and how much the club appreciated what he brought to the team. Although he's clearly not going to be the closer in Milwaukee, money talks -- and enough money and he may decide he can set up Axford. Sure, he spoke of being frustrated about not closing in Milwaukee during the year, but seeing the market could open his mind to other propositions.
Possible teams: Brewers, Cardinals, Orioles, Nationals, Phillies

Kyle Farnsworth7. Kyle Farnsworth: Fransworth more than lived up to his one-year deal last season, rewarding the Rays for taking a chance on him with 25 saves and a 2.18 ERA. He struck out 51 in 57 2/3 inning and had a career-best 0.988 WHIP and also his lowest walk rate of his career (1.9 BB/9). He made $2.6 million last season and the Rays have a $3.3 million club option (with a $650,000 buyout). It's basically a no-brainer to pick it up. Even if he doesn't repeat his 2011 numbers, he has the type of arm some team will want at the deadline to fortify a bullpen.
Possible teams: Rays, Mets, Marlins

Joe Nathan8. Joe Nathan: It's unlikely the Twins pick up Nathan's $12.5 million option -- that's just too rich for a guy pitching in just 48 games after missing the entire 2010 season because of Tommy John surgery. Still, both the Twins and Nathan are said to have interest in the closer returning to Minnesota. The 36-year-old has 260 of his 261 career saves in a Twins uniform and it's hard to imagine the two sides not working something out.
Possible teams: Twins

Kerry Wood9. Kerry Wood: The 34-year-old has already said he will either return to the Cubs in 2012 or retire. Count on the former. Wood was steady in the bullpen in 2011, striking out 57 in 51 innings and also showed no need to be the closer. Steady set-up men are something every team needs, and the Cubs as much as any other team. Wood took a below-market deal to return to the Cubs last season, earning just $1.5 million, and he may be open to doing it again. If so, it seems like a no-brainer to bring him back.
Possible teams: Cubs, retirement

Jeremy Affeldt10. Jeremy Affeldt: Affeldt is a left-handed reliever, but he's not just a left-handed specialist. Sure, his numbers against lefties are better (they hit just .144/.206/.200 against him), but he can also stay in and do a good job against right-handers. That versatility adds to his value on the mariet. He's been part of the very good Giants bullpen and expect him to stay there. San Francisco has a $5 million option on him after he earned $4.5 each of the past two seasons. He's earned the pay bump with his solid numbers. If the Giants don't exercise his option, they'll likely work out a multi-year deal with the team.
Possible teams: Giants

Jonathan Broxton11. Jonathan Broxton: Coming off a disappointing 2010, the hard-throwing right-hander appeared in just 14 games and underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow in September to remove a bone spur and loose bodies. Once an All-Star, Broxton's first year of free agency will likely end with a one-year, incentive-laden contract. Broxton is just 27, but if he's no longer throwing 99 mph, what exactly is his worth? It's unlikely he'll get a job as a closer, but will have the opportunity to prove himself in the spring. The Dodgers appear ready to wash their hands of Broxton, despite the right-hander's statements he'd like to return.
Possible teams: Anyone but the Dodgers

Arthur Rhodes12. Arthur Rhodes: Rhodes has said he wants to pitch one more season and then retire. Rhodes has pitched for nine clubs in his career, including two this season -- the Cardinals and Rangers. While disappointing in Texas, Rhodes has rebounded with the Cardinals after being designated for assignment by the Rangers. Tony La Russa loves playing matchups, so it wouldn't be a shock to see him stay in St. Louis. 
Possible teams: Cardinals, Reds, Cubs, Orioles, Blue Jays

Jon Rauch13. Jon Rauch: Rauch had 11 saves for the Blue Jays, pitching in 53 games for the Blue Jays this season. Toronto has a $3.75 million option on the 6-foot-10 right-hander, which is affordable enough. Rauch gave up 11 home runs, the most he's allowed since 2008. While a former closer, he's not exactly anyone's idea of a closer going forward. 
Possible teams: Blue Jays, Twins, Braves, Nationals

Darren Oliver14. Darren Oliver: The 41-year-old left-hander has said he'd like to pitch one more year. His 2011 proves he can still do it, appearing in 61 games and putting up a 2.29 ERA. His splits against left-handers and right-handers weren't too far off, with only his strikeout rates really spiking against lefties. He had 23 strikeouts of lefties in 94 plate appearances and 21 against right-handers in 121 plate appearances. Righties had an OPS of .594 against him, lefties .587. He's spent 10 of his 18 seasons in Texas in three stints. It seems like a perfect fit for him to return.
Possible teams: Rangers, Cardinals

Jason Frasor15. Jason Frasor: The White Sox hold a $3.75 million option for 2012, but the right-hander struggled after being part of the trade that sent him to his hometown at the trade deadline. Frasor was part of the massive three-team trade that sent Colby Rasmus to the Blue Jays and Edwin Jackson, Marc Rzepczynski and Octavio Dotel to St. Louis. In 20 appearances for the White Sox, he had a 5.09 ERA, but did strike out more than a batter an inning (20 strikeouts in 17 2/3 innings). He had a 2.98 ERA in 44 appearances for the Blue Jays. 
Possible teams: White Sox, Blue Jays, Diamondbacks

Brad Lidge16. Brad Lidge: The Phillies declined a $12.5 million option on their former closer, giving him a $1.5 million buyout. Lidge missed most of the season with a shoulder strain, but did pitch well upon his return, putting up just a 1.40 ERA in 25 appearances, striking out 23 in 19 1/3 innings. Lidge has said he's open to returning as a set-up man, but it appears his days of closing for the Phillies are done, even with Ryan Madson as a free agent. Still, Philadelphia needed several closers to get through the season and having Lidge back could be a good backup plan. Neither side has ruled out a return for Lidge at Citizen's Bank Park.
Possible teams: Phillies, Orioles, Dodgers, Angels

Dan Wheeler17. Dan Wheeler: The Red Sox hold a $3 million option on the right-hander who will be 34 next season. After coming over from the Rays, Wheeler put up a 4.38 ERA out of the Red Sox bullpen. Wheeler spent some time on the disabled list with  a calf strain and then was unavailable down the stretch with forearm stiffness. His health will be major issue Boston's decision to bring him back. If deemed healthy, it would seem he'd have a good chance of returning to the Red Sox. Wheeler had a better xFIP (3.71) than ERA, with a high BABIP (batting average on balls in play) than he did in either of the past three seasons (.272).
Possible teams: Red Sox, Phillies, Cardinals, Dodgers, Angels

Frank Francisco18. Frank Francisco: Francisco is a Type B free agent, and the Blue Jays will likely offer him arbitration. The 32-year-old right-hander came over in the Mike Napoli trade and picked up 17 saves for the Blue Jays, putting up a 3.55 ERA in 54 games. He struck out 53 in 50 2/3 innings, walking 18. He's not exactly anyone's first choice for a closer, but he could go into a camp and compete for that job, or at least be a fill-in while some team's closer is injured.
Possible teams: Blue Jays, Nationals, Astros, Padres, Phillies

Chad Qualls19. Chad Qualls: San Diego is expected to decline the $6 million option on Qualls. Qualls appeared in 77 games for the Padres in 2011, putting up a 3.51 ERA in San Diego. The Padres are reportedly interested in bringing him back, just not at $6 million. He thrived at Petco Park, earning a 2.09 ERA at home and 5.05 on the road, so it's not a stretch to expect that he would have interest in returning to the Padres.
Possible teams: Padres, Diamondbacks, Nationals, Angels

Matt Capps20. Matt Capps: Just 28, the right-hander is a former closer for the Pirates, Nationals and Twins, but saw his strikeout rate (4.7 per nine innings) and fastball velocity (92.9 mph) drop this year and his ERA rise to 4.25, hardly the way you want to enter free agency. Capps made $7.15 million last season, earning 15 saves for Minnesota. He'll take a pay cut in 2012, likely signing another one-year deal, hoping to re-establish his worth. 
Possible teams: all of them

Free-agent position rankings: C | 1B | 2B | SS | 3B | OF | DH | SP | RP

Free-agent overall rankings: Position players | Pitchers

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: July 16, 2011 5:26 pm
Edited on: July 16, 2011 5:30 pm
 

Nathan gets closer job back from Capps

By Matt Snyder

Matt Capps blew his seventh save in 22 tries Friday night, and that was evidently enough for Twins manager Ron Gardenhire to return closing duties to four-time All-Star Joe Nathan (LaVelle Neal via Twitter).

Capps had taken over the role from Nathan in late April as Nathan struggled in his return from having Tommy John surgery on his elbow. Nathan ended up having to go on the disabled list for a bit, too, but he has been much stronger of late. In his last seven outings, he hasn't allowed an earned run while striking out seven, walking zero and giving up only two hits. It's entirely possible he's returning to form as he continues to work back to full strength -- as the surgery was about 16 months ago and a normal return timetable is 12-18 months.

From 2004-2009, Nathan was one of the elite closers in baseball. His average season for that six-year span was 41 saves, 1.87 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 86 strikeouts and 20 walks in 70 innings. He's 36 years old now, so he may not be able to return to such dominance, but there's likely still some gas in the tank, definitely enough to be an effective closer.

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Posted on: July 6, 2011 3:40 pm
Edited on: July 6, 2011 3:57 pm
 

Capps won't get save chance on Wednesday

By Evan Brunell
Capps
Matt Capps continues to lose his grip on the closer's job, a gig that is falling to Glen Perkins after Capps failed on Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday to close the door.

Capps blew the Sunday game by giving up four earned runs in just 1/3 of an inning. This wasn't abnormal for Capps, who has been prone to the occasional blow-up here and there, skyrocketing his ERA and then seeing the former Pirates and Nationals reliever tamp it back down over the ensuing games. Except this time, Ron Gardenhire has run out of patience (despite his words to the contrary), and Capps has been yanked from the last two games after allowing multiple baserunners.

Capps has been strenuously booed by Twins fans, something Capps says he understands.

"It's a terrible feeling having to go take him out of the game," Gardenhire told the Associated Press. "I said that the last time. And it's not fun for a manager to go take him out. We're trying to win ballgames."

It doesn't help that Capps has blown six saves, notching just 13. The six blown saves already match his 2010 total, but he added 42 saves on top of that.

To that end, Gardenhire's not even bothering Wednesday with giving Capps another chance. Via the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Gardenhire reports that Capps will not get a save opportunity should one arise. Instead, a save will likely go to Perkins or Joe Nathan, who has come on as of recently after struggling to return from Tommy John surgery.

Capps has a 4.76 ERA on the season in 35 2/3 innings, striking out just 21 while giving out five free passes and allowing six home runs with 37 hits given up.

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Posted on: June 24, 2011 5:50 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2011 7:45 pm
 

Morneau to have surgery, miss 6 weeks

Justin Morneau

By C. Trent Rosecrans and Evan Brunell

Already on the disabled list with a strained left wrist, Twins first baseman Justin Morneau will undergo surgery next week to alleviate pain from a  pinched nerve in his neck, the team announced.

"He should be back playing full in six weeks," trainer Rick McWane told the Associated Press. "Even though the risk is small, there still is a risk that if he continued to play through this and not get it fixed that his full strength would not come back, so we made the decision."

The pain, it should be noted, is not related to the concussion that kept him out of the second half of the 2010 season. The surgery is non-evasive, but will still sideline Morneau for an extended period. McWane also noted the time off should help Morneau's wrist injury, so there's that.

"I was honestly kind of looking forward to him getting out of this cast [from the wrist] and seeing where he was at, kind of hoping we'd have him back here in four or five days or whatever," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I know Morny didn't want any part of this, really, he's been fighting this stuff with the surgery and trying to stay away from anything like that so he can finish out the season. ... I know it's frustrating for him, so I feel bad for him more than anything else."

This is just another in the long list of Twins injuries. So far, Joe Mauer (legs), Tsuyoshi Nishioka (broken leg), Joe Nathan (elbow), Denard Span (concussion) and Jason Kubel (foot) have all missed significant time due to injuries this season.

Also, designated hitter Jim Thome was expected to come off the disabled list today, but could return early next week when the team returns home and to the American League rules.

Morneau is hitting just .225/.281/.338 with four home runs and 21 RBI in 55 games this season. 

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Posted on: June 23, 2011 10:18 am
Edited on: June 23, 2011 12:31 pm
 

Pepper: No pinstripes for Reyes?

By C. Trent Rosecrans

BASEBALL TODAY: CBSSports.com senior writer Scott Miller joins Lauren Shihadi to talk about a pair of struggling aces, the Cardinals' Chris Carpenter and the Giants' Tim Lincecum.

REYES WON'T BE A YANKEE: Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said the team would not acquire Mets shortstop Jose Reyes, either in a trade or as a free agent.

"That's just not going to happen," Cashman told Roger Rubin of the New York Daily News.

"We have an everyday shortstop in Derek Jeter," he added. "And I think we have an everyday shortstop that would be playing for a lot of clubs in Eduardo Nunez. The Yankees don't have a need now or in the future for a shortstop.

"But we do need a setup man."

Like Rafael Soriano, another player Cashman said the team didn't have any interest in signing?

SPEAKING OF: I understand baseball memorabilia, I really do. I mean, I own a game-worn Dick Pole jersey. But a dirt keychain? After Jeter's 3,000th hit, five gallons of dirt will be dug up from the batter's box and shortstop patch and sold off in various forms. The "DJ 3K" merchandise line will include not just dirt (which will be infused into key chains, plastic disks paired with photos and in bats among other items), but also the usual T-shirts, hats, jerseys, bobbleheads, patches, balls and even necklaces. [New York Times]

TEAM PLAYER: Mark Ellis understands Jemile Weeks is a talent who will help the A's, and that's why he's volunteered to step away from his second base spot.

"He made it very easy on me," A's manager Bob Melvin told reporters, including Jane Lee of MLB.com. "You would, to an extent, expect that, but to the extent and the level he went, for me, was off the charts. The first thing I said to him was, 'OK, the second-base situation,' and he said, 'That's an easy one, you gotta play him.'"

Ellis is known as one of the good guys of the game, and this is another piece of evidence in that case. Ellis will play first and third for the A's, but the team's longest-tenured player won't be penciled in every day as he has been.

The 34-year-old Ellis is hitting just .210/.244/.286 in 60 games. Weeks has made the most of his opportunity when Ellis went not he DL, hitting .321/.357/.509 in the first 14 games of his big-league career.

Ellis has pride, but he understands that Weeks is a talent. In the end, that's the biggest thing -- players recognize talent. If his replacement was just someone hot, Ellis would unlikely step aside so easily, but Weeks is someone who can help the team in the long term. Ellis knows it. It can't be easy to put the ego aside like that, but he did. Hats off to Ellis.

As a side note, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle cites an "industry insider" as saying there's a "very good chance" Ellis will be traded across the San Francisco Bay to the Giants. Ellis is a free agent after the season, and with Weeks on board, it's unlikely he'll be back in Oakland next season.

PHANATIC HURT: Tom Burgoyne, the man inside the green Phillie Phanatic costume, was released from a Pennsylvania hospital Wednesday night after being hit in the head by a batted ball during a minor-league appearance at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. [Allentown Morning Call]

WELCOME BACK: The surging Twins will add DH Jim Thome and former closer Joe Nathan on Friday. Thome had five at-bats Wednesday in a simulated game at the team's complex in Fort Myers, Fla. Nathan struck out three Wednesday and allowed an unearned run, a walk and a hit in one inning for Triple-A Rochester. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]

EL TIANTE JR.: Reds right-hander Johnny Cueto added a little tweak to his delivery for Wednesday's start against the Yankees, turning his back to the hitter more than he has in the past. It worked, as he held the Yankees to two hits and one run in seven innings.

"I've been doing it, but I did it a little more tonight," Cueto told reporters, including the Cincinnati Enquirer's Tom Groeschen. "I'm trying to make it tough to see the baseball, so I'm hiding it real good now."

How good? Cueto improved to 5-2 and lowered his ERA to 1.63 this season. Batters are hitting just .193/.261/.297 against Cueto this season.

PEAVY, PIERZYNSKI OK: White Sox starter Jake Peavy and catcher A.J. Pierzynski had a heated argument that was caught on live TV in the dugout, and the two headed into the tunnel to escape the cameras. Afterward, both joked about the incident and said they were OK. [MLB.com]

ROX SEEK ARMS: Colorado Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd said the team -- 3 1/2 games out of first in the NL West -- will look for pitching to help fill the void left by the loss of Jorge De La Rosa. Good luck finding someone like that. [MLB.com]

END OF THE LINE?: Veteran right-hander John Maine left the Rockies' Triple-A team after a bad start Monday and will use the time to decide whether he will retire or continue his comeback from shoulder surgery last season. The 30-year-old is 1-3 with a 7.43 ERA in 11 starts this season. [InsidetheRockies.com]

GLOVE STORY: Last week Yankees starter Brian Gordon became the first Major League player to use a non-leather glove in a game. Gordon uses a synthetic glove handmade by a guy in Cooperstown, N.Y. [MLB.com]

THREE TRUE OUTCOMES: You hear that phrase pretty often, especially talking about Adam Dunn, as a player who seems to either hit a home run, strike out or walk in every plate appearance. Thanks to the beauty of computers, the Baseball-Reference.com blog has the 25 players (ranked by plate appearances) whose total homers plus walks plus strikeouts were at least 60 percent of their career plate appearances. Dunn is on the list, as are Thome, Carlos Pena, Ryan Howard and Rob Deer.

MLB EXPANSION?: No, not of teams -- of rosters. Jerry Crasnick of ESPN looks at both sides of the proposition. While Crasnick writes mostly about an extra position player, I can't imagine Tony La Russa not wanting another reliever in his bullpen just so he could make another pitching change in the sixth inning.

YANKEE STRIPPER, PART 2: The other man in a vintage photo of Joe DiMaggio has been identified, so we can put that to rest. Rugger Ardizoia said the picture was taken in spring training of 1941 when he was a minor leaguer with the Yankees and his fellow San Francisco native, DiMaggio, "took care" of him. [San Francisco Chronicle]

EXPOS BOOK: Jonah Keri, the author of the excellent book about the Tampa Bay Rays, The Extra 2%, will next tackle The Definitive History of the Montreal Expos. The book won't drop until 2014 -- the 10-year anniversary of the Expos' move -- but that doesn't mean it can't go on my Amazon wish list now. Or, well, as soon as Amazon has it listed. [JonahKeri.com]

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Posted on: June 17, 2011 6:58 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2011 7:39 pm
 

Mauer returns, but Twins injuries linger

By Matt Snyder

Joe Mauer is back Friday night, but that doesn't mean the Twins are fully healed. Not even close.

Here's the latest rundown, courtesy of Joe Christensen of the Star Tribune.

-- Joe Nathan is going to begin a rehab stint Saturday for Triple-A Rochester. The plan is for him to throw two to three games, including working back-to-back nights, and he could return next Friday. The former Twins closer is still having issues with his surgically repaired right elbow.

-- Jim Thome is working back into form from his injured quad and back in Fort Myers. He's reportedly close to game-ready and could join the Twins before their NL road trip -- of course, he'd have to play a position instead of DH, so maybe they'll just hold off on that, giving him some extra time.

- Jason Kubel (foot) and Denard Span (lingering concussion symptoms) have been ruled out for the Twins' trip to San Francisco for the first part of next week. The earliest either will return is next Friday at Milwaukee.

And remember, Justin Morneau is still on the DL as well.

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Posted on: June 15, 2011 5:39 pm
Edited on: June 15, 2011 7:48 pm
 

Nishioka back for Twins, Mauer to return Friday

Tsuyoshi Nishioka

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Tsuyoshi Nishioka, out since April 7 after suffering a broken fibula, returns to the Twins tonight, taking the roster slot of Justin Morneau, who was put on the DL with a wrist injury.

The Twins will be  getting catcher Joe Mauer and former closer Joe Nathan back soon, as well. Mauer will return to the Twins for Friday's game against the Padres, while Nathan will likely go to Triple-A before returning to the Twins, Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire told reporters before Wednesday's game.

Nathan (elbow) threw 30 to 40 pitches to Mauer (bilateral leg weakness) on Wednesday morning, and both players told the Fort Myers News-Press that they expect to return to Minnesota soon. 

Nathan said he would be leaving for Minneapolis on Thursday afternoon along with Mauer, but Nathan will still get some minor-league time before pitching for the Twins.

"It was a lot longer than I had hoped," Mauer told the paper about his rehab. "But I got my work in, and I worked with a lot of great people down here. It was nice, but obviously I want to be up there in Minnesota and be up there playing. I feel like I'm ready to get out of here."

Nishioka was the Twins' biggest offseason pickup, and played just six games before his injury. He was now had more rehab games than big league games, going 4 for 12 for both the Twins high-Class A team and for their Triple-A team, playing four and three games, respectively.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com