Ryan Doumit is back in the Twins' lineup tonight, his sore ankle pain-free again. He'll be behind the plate tonight, so that ankle will get a good test.
But the big test for tonight belongs to P.J. Walters, the Twins' starting pitcher. His last start, Saturday in Cleveland, was one of the worst of his career, lasting only nine batters, five of whom he walked. It happens, but the Twins want him to prove it was just a hiccup.
"We'd never seen that from him, where he just couldn't throw the ball over," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He couldn't find the strike zone with his breaking ball, with his fastball, with anything."
He allowed six runs in the first inning, and fell to 0-3 in June after two strong starts in May. "I don't look for it to be a problem" tonight, Gardenhire said. "I look for him to go out tonight and attack the strike zone, and make good pitches."
It's a little more urgent now, because the Twins' rotation is about to get crowded. Kyle Gibson will make his major league debut Saturday, and Mike Pelfrey is a week away from returning, so the Twins are likely to drop one of their six starters.
Samuel Deduno and Kevin Correia are pitching too well to go anywhere, and Pelfrey is improving. That leaves Scott Diamond, Gibson or Walters at risk, and the Twins have already said they want Gibson to remain here, though he has to pitch well enough to earn it.
Pelfrey, out with a stiff back, will make a rehab start at Class A Cedar Rapids sometime in the next few days, probably Monday against Peoria, and if all goes well, Gardenhire said Pelfrey could be activated for the Saturday, July 6 game at Toronto.
One other note: Longtime clubhouse attendant Wayne "Big Fella" Hattaway was taken to a hospital yesterday after feeling dizzy during the game, and he spent the night there. He's expected to be released today, however.