Valencia homers, injures arm

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Danny Valencia knocked out his second homer in as many nights for the Twins on Saturday, but the third baseman had to come out of the game after having to hurry a throw in the eighth inning.

Photo: Bruce Bisping, Star Tribune

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Twins third baseman Danny Valencia is just starting to have a couple of hits drop in -- or drop in a fan's lap. Now he might be sidelined by a strained right biceps muscle.

Valencia suffered the injury in Saturday's 1-0 victory over San Diego, after his homer provided the game's only run. In the eighth inning, Jesus Guzman's grounder rolled up Valencia's arm. With a runner on first, the Twins third baseman lost his chance to start a double play, but he gathered the ball with his bare hand, spun and made a strong throw to first for the out.

Matt Tolbert replaced Valencia for the ninth inning.

"I threw that ball that should have been a double-play ball," Valencia said. "When I threw, my whole bicep tightened up. It feels like I'm flexing my bicep.

"We worked on it in there. And hopefully tomorrow it will be all right."

He added he would like to play Sunday, but the Twins are expected to be careful with an infielder nursing an arm injury.

It soured a night in which Valencia hit a crucial homer for the second game in a row. In the second inning, he drove a pitch from Padres righthander Tim Stauffer (2-5) into the seats in left-center.

"It was nice to get that one," Valencia said.

Injury updates

• Joe Nathan (elbow) pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning, striking out two, for Class AAA Rochester during a rehabilitation outing Saturday. His fastball reached 93 miles per hour. He is expected to make a few more appearances for Rochester, including in back-to-back games.

• Designated hitter Jim Thome (back/quadriceps) worked out in Fort Myers, Fla., but went home early because of the flu.

• Righthander Kevin Slowey (abdominal strain) is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Sunday.

• Outfielders Denard Span (concussion) and Jason Kubel (left foot sprain) continue to rehab but are expected to be out several more days.

Etc.

• Reliever Pat Neshek said Friday was "weird" as he faced his former teammates. Neshek, who attended Park Center High School, entered Friday's game with two on and no outs in the sixth. He got two flyouts but walked Alexi Casilla to load the bases for Joe Mauer. He lined out to left to end the inning.

"It is never easy facing Joe up there,'' Neshek said. "I was trying to read his mind like what he would call when he used to catch me."

• Former Twins second baseman Orlando Hudson rejoined the Padres. On the disabled list for the second time this season, he missed his 22nd game because of a left groin strain Saturday. There's a slim chance that Hudson will be activated Sunday to play at Target Field, but the soggy conditions might persuade San Diego to wait another day.

• Twins closer Matt Capps, who has earned saves each of the past three days -- all in one-run victories -- said his slider Saturday was much better than it was Friday. Both nights, he retired the Padres in order.

• Manager Ron Gardenhire said that if Joe Mauer plays Sunday, it will be as the designated hitter. Gardenhire will check with Mauer before the game. Meanwhile, sometime in the coming days, the Twins are expected to make a roster move to drop from three catchers to two. It is not a lock that Drew Butera will remain with the club, because Rene Rivera has done well working with pitchers.

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