Twins lefthander Francisco Liriano told the club Sunday that his shoulder feels better after missing Saturday's start because of some soreness. But the big test will come Tuesday in Detroit.
That's when Liriano is scheduled to throw in the bullpen. If that session goes well and he reports no problems the next day, he will start Thursday in Kansas City.
If Liriano has any issues, Anthony Swarzak would start and Liriano could land on the disabled list.
"He feels better, and that's a good thing," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It sounds like he'll be able to go out there and throw. But if it comes up that he's having issues out there [the DL] would be something we would [consider]. Back him off and give him a couple of weeks to regroup."
Liriano, 3-5 with a 5.73 ERA, came down with shoulder soreness last week, prompting the Twins to use Swarzak on Saturday. They are convinced the injury is minor, and a precautionary MRI exam confirmed that.
"He seemed to think he was going to be OK," Gardenhire said.
Lefthander Jose Mijares was activated from the 15-day disabled list following Sunday's game after recovering from a sore elbow. To make room, the Twins optioned lefthander Dusty Hughes to Class AAA Rochester. Hughes has a 9.95 ERA with the Twins and has given up four home runs, including one Friday during a 6-5 loss.
Swarzak eyes role
Swarzak, who pitched no-hit ball for 7 1/3 innings Saturday, told Gardenhire he was ready to pitch Sunday if needed.
"I don't know about that," Gardenhire said, "and he's sincere about that."
Gardenhire has used the term "game on" to describe Swarzak, who's in his eighth season with the organization but was 3-7 with a 6.25 ERA in 12 major league starts before this year.
After debuting in 2009, Swarzak didn't earn a callup last season, and his outing Saturday suggests he doesn't want to blow this chance.
"I think he likes staying the big leagues and has a good sense where we have been scuffling," Gardenhire said. "He knows that if he takes the ball and pitches, he'll get his chance."
There were no extended spring training games in Fort Myers, Fla., on Sunday, so the rehabilitating Twins players showed up for treatment. Both Tsuyoshi Nishioka (broken left fibula) and Joe Mauer (bilateral leg weakness) are scheduled to play Monday.
Glen Perkins, recovering in the Twin Cities from a right oblique strain, is making progress and could start a throwing program in a couple of days.
David Altchek, the specialist who performed Joe Nathan's elbow surgery last year, told the Twins the area where Nathan is sore is common for people coming back from the injury.
"That is where they split the muscle and go in to perform the surgery," Twins trainer Rick McWane said. "He's got some scar tissue in there."
The Twins feel if they let the soreness subside, Nathan -- placed on the 15-day DL on Saturday -- could come back better and stronger.
• Jim Thome took a cortisone shot in his sore left shoulder after Saturday's game but reported soreness Sunday and was not available as a pinch hitter. They hope he'll be available during the Detroit series.