Sore ribs, flu keep Young on bench

Twins outfielder Delmon Young's sore ribs and stomach flu could keep him out of the lineup until the Twins return home to open a three-game series against Cleveland on Friday at Target Field.

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Twins left fielder Delmon Young

Photo: Chris O'Meara, Associated Press

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BALTIMORE - Twins outfielder Delmon Young's sore ribs and stomach flu could keep him out of the lineup until the Twins return home to open a three-game series against Cleveland on Friday at Target Field.

Young was seen working out before Wednesday's game, and is feeling better. But manager Ron Gardenhire seemed reluctant to start Young in a game because of the soreness in his ribs and risk aggravating the injury. Young injured himself during batting practice Monday but made it through the game.

"He feels better," Gardenhire said. "My best guess is when we get home, we'll see where we are at on Friday. Try to get through the next couple of days without pushing the issue."

Jason Repko started in left field for Young, who is batting .228 with no homers and six RBI after swinging well during spring training. It meant another night of playing with a shorthanded bench for Gardenhire. But, as he acknowledged before the game, no one is going to feel sorry for them. They need to figure out ways to win.

"You just have to deal with it,'' Gardenhire said. "That's just the way it is."

Morneau takes BP

First baseman Justin Morneau, out since Sunday because of the stomach flu, took batting practice Wednesday for the first time during the series but still was not in the starting lineup.

Morneau said he felt better than he did Tuesday, but sounded like he hadn't totally shaken the bug. Nevertheless, chance appear to be favorable that he could play Thursday in the series finale at Camden Yards.

"He's feeling better," Gardenhire said, "and we'll see how that goes."

About Mauer

Joe Mauer believes the reason he's experiencing weakness in his legs is that he was unable to build them up sufficiently before the season began.

The Twins still believe the viral infection he came down with last week in St. Petersburg, Fla., has a lot to do with the weakness in his legs. They are acting on the premise that any soreness is going to be magnified when you come down with a viral infection, as Mauer did.

So Gardenhire said Wednesday there is still hope Mauer will be ready to play when he's eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list April 28.

"If that's the case, we'll get this viral infection out of him," Gardenhire said. "Maybe he'll be [healthy] a little quicker than we hoped."

Slowey in Florida

Righthander Kevin Slowey landed in Florida on Wednesday to continue his recovery from bursitis in his shoulder. He will throw in the bullpen Thursday and is scheduled to pitch in extended spring training games Saturday and Wednesday. If all goes well, Slowey should be activated from the 15-day disabled list.

Etc.

• One lineup on the wall outside the visitors clubhouse Wednesday had Jason Kubel playing first base and Michael Cuddyer in right field. The positions were actually switched around. "I saw that when I came in," Kubel said. "It would be fun to try to play there."

• Jim Thome is a career .267 hitter in March and April, and his 78 career homers during the opening month of the season are 13 lower than any other month. Gardenhire is not concerned with Thome entering Wednesday batting .171 with one homer. "When Thome scuffles you don't recognize it as much because if he strikes out three times, they are fun strikeouts because he is ripping [at] it," Gardenhire said. "He'll be fine. I enjoy watching him walk up there."

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