A lot of interesting information came through this morning. In his weekly radio program, Ron Gardenhire was fairly forthcoming in updating us on where all of our injured players are in terms of their recovery. We'll hit everything bullet point style.
- Joe Mauer won't be taking rehab in Rochester, but staying in Fort Myers. He'll play Monday and Tuesday, face Joe Nathan on Wednesday, and could potentially be back with the Twins for the weekend. Considering how long he's been gone and how little we really know about his bi-lateral leg weakness, it's a bit of a shock thinking that he's actually that close to getting back.
- Speaking of Nathan, there's still no timetable for him.
- Tsuyoshi Nishioka played for the Red Wings today. He'll play a few games there, but along with Mauer, Nishioka is considered to be the player closest to returning to Minnesota. Closer than Kubel or Span? Maybe.
- Speaking of which, both Denard Span and Jason Kubel are eligible to return from the disabled list in the next couple of days. It sounds like Kubel won't be back until the soreness goes away, which could be Wednesday at the earliest, but it wouldn't surprise me to see the Twins wait to reactivate him until this next weekend. Span, meanwhile, feels better but won't be activated until all concussion-related symptoms have passed. Just like Kubel, his exact return date is still up in the air.
- Jim Thome is headed to Florida on Monday. He's had his shots, and now he'll look to get a little work in. Hopefully he'll also be back in one to two weeks, but right now it's just a matter of if he can stay loose. He'll be limited in his time with the Twins, in whatever case.
- The Twins are still waiting to hear from Justin Morneau's specialist, and depending on what he says then Morneau may or may not end up on the disabled list. His wrist is keeping him out, not to mention his neck, but with all of the players due to return to this lineup over the next couple of weeks I'd just bite the bullet and put Morneau on the disabled list. He's not under as much pressure to continue to play in spite of his ailments, not right now, so getting him rested and healthy should be the primary concern.
- Glen Perkins will throw for Rochester once more on Tuesday. If he's healthy, we could see him back with the Twins by next weekend as well.
- Non-injury related, but Gardy expressed his confidence in Brian Duensing and his ability to be an effective starting pitcher. It doesn't sound like Duensing is in danger of losing his spot in the rotation anytime soon.
- Kevin Slowey has thrown from 150, and has now thrown from the mound as well. His return still isn't estimated, but he is progressing.
After the jump I'll attempt to predict who will be sent down when certain players return.
This isn't a list of what I would do. This is a list of what I believe Gardy will do.
IN: Joe Mauer
OUT: Rene Rivera
Rivera has been catching a lot lately, but Gardy likes to go with who he knows. Butera has had more time with this team and with these pitchers, so I'd anticipate he stays on as the team's second catcher. I'd be pretty shocked if this went the other way.
IN: Tsuyoshi Nishioka
OUT: Brian Dinkelman
We've seen Dinkelman in the outfield, but the Twins still have five outfielders on the active roster without him. It's been good to see him, and I think largely he's held his own, but he won't survive the return of all these players anyway and I think this is the spot where he'll be sent down.
IN: Denard Span
OUT: Rene Tosoni
There really isn't another option, here. Because Gardy will keep from making a decision between Repko and Revere for as long as he possibly can.
IN: Jason Kubel
OUT: Jason Repko
I struggled with this one, because for the same reason Gardy would rather keep Butera than Rivera I can see him keeping Repko over Revere. Repko is a bit older, is a good defender, and quite importantly: he won't require a lot of playing time. But in this scenario, where Revere has played so well in all aspects of his game, I anticipate the Twins making a move on Repko. Gardy will try to shift Revere around between all three outfield spots, shifting Cuddyer to the infield when he can or putting Young as designated hitter from time to time. I know Gardy would find at least two starts a week for Revere, and we'd see him regularly on the bases as a pinch runner and in the outfield as a late-inning defensive replacement.
IN: Jim Thome
OUT: Luke Hughes
I really wish this doesn't happen. I've said on many occasions that I like Hughes and hope that the Twins find a way to keep him around, but considering Minnesota's options at this point I don't see it happening. They'll still need another guy to backup shortstop, and Hughes just isn't that guy.
IN: Glen Perkins
OUT: Phil Dumatrait
It's either Dumatrait or James here, and I have to believe that in spite of Dumatrait's good numbers so far that the Twins will take a look at that walk-to-innings pitched ratio and do the right thing. James has pitched well, and deserves to stay. Dumatrait has pitched well, but the liklihood of him continuing to pitch well is low.
IN: Kevin Slowey
OUT: Alex Burnett
This is another situation I won't agree with, because I'd rather see Hoey given the heave-ho. But Burnett is the kid, wasn't traded for a starting shortstop, and hasn't been good enough (although I don't think he's been bad) for the Twins or Gardy to keep him around over Hoey and all that Hoey stands for.
IN: Joe Nathan
OUT: Jim Hoey
Whenever Nathan returns, looking at the roster as it currently stands, that's where Hoey finally gets his walking papers. Or, at least, a free trip to Rochester.