ANAHEIM, CALIF. -- Justin Morneau is ready to join Class AAA Rochester on a rehab assignment.
Morneau is flying to Norfolk, Va., tonight, and will be in the starting lineup on Friday. He hasn't played for the Twins since June 9.
He originally went on the DL with a strained wrist, and then he had surgery to relieve a pinched nerve in his neck. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire had talked about Morneau possibly playing in a simulated game before beginning his rehab assignment, but Morneau is champing at the bit.
With Delmon Yong back in left field, and Ben Revere on the bench, Joe Mauer will be batting second for the Twins tonight in the series finale against the Angels.
Mauer is at first base, with Drew Butera catching Francisco Liriano for the second straight start.
The Twins are scheduled to arrive in Minnesota at about 5 a.m., and they'll need to sleep fast, with a night game against the White Sox on Friday.
Gardenhire said he will check to see how Span feels on Friday. During his recent rehab stint, Span did not play for Rochester on the days the team traveled.
The tentative plan is to have Mauer catch on Friday night and play first again Saturday, with Butera catching Carl Pavano.
Standings update: Texas defeated the Tigers 5-2 earlier today, so the Twins are 7 1/2 games back in the AL Central, and the Angels are 1 1/2 games back in the AL West.
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Joe Mauer, 1B (corrected)
3. Michael Cuddyer, 2B
4. Jason Kubel, RF
5. Jim Thome, DH
6. Danny Valencia, 3B
7. Delmon Young, LF
8. Tsuyoshi Nishioka, SS
9. Drew Butera, C
Starting pitcher: LH Francisco Liriano (7-8, 4.67 ERA)
1. Maicer Izturis, DH
2. Alberto Callaspo, 3B
3. Torii Hunter, RF
4. Vernon Wells, LF
5. Howie Kendrick, 2B
6. Mark Trumbo, 1B
7. Erick Aybar, SS
8. Peter Bourjos, CF
9. Jeff Mathis, C
Starting pitcher: RH Dan Haren (11-6, 2.89 ERA)
Angel Stadium. First pitch: 9:05 p.m. (Central). TV: FSN. Twins Radio Network