Perkins slowed by forearm issue

Reliever Glen Perkins had a magnetic resonance imaging exam on his left forearm Monday and was left in the Twin Cities while the team opened a four-game series at Yankee Stadium.

Twins reliever Glen Perkins

Photo: Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune file

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NEW YORK - The injury issues won't go away for the Twins, as reliever Glen Perkins had a magnetic resonance imaging exam on his left forearm Monday and was left in the Twin Cities while the team opened a four-game series at Yankee Stadium.

Twins General Manager Terry Ryan said Perkins has some tenderness in his forearm.

"And that's exactly what the MRI showed -- irritation to his left forearm," Ryan said. "We're going to go day-to-day with him, too. We're going to leave him back in Minnesota at least two days and see how he is Wednesday."

Perkins entered Sunday's game against Texas in the eighth inning, but, 10 pitches later, he took the loss by giving up three runs on a walk, triple and home run as the Twins fell 4-3 at Target Field. His physical condition was not brought up after the game.

He has told the team that the soreness is something he can pitch through, but the Twins are going to careful with Perkins, whom they signed to a three-year, $10.3 million contract during spring training. In 4 1/3 innings, he is 0-1 with an 8.31 ERA.

Forearm problems can be a precursor of elbow ligament trouble, but the Twins have not indicated that as a concern. Manager Ron Gardenhire, in fact, pointed out that Perkins had a similar problem in September that was cured with medication.

As for the rotation

The Twins have been hit with pitching injuries in the early part of the season, losing Scott Baker for the season because of right elbow surgery and watching Nick Blackburn leave Saturday's start in the sixth inning because of a cramp in his right shoulder.

"We've got some things going on with this pitching staff," Ryan said.

Blackburn, Gardenhire said, will miss at least one start. He will throw a light bullpen session on Friday and, if that goes well, a full bullpen session on Sunday. If that goes well, Gardenhire said Blackburn could return to the rotation around April 24. The Twins believe Blackburn will be fine, but they want to see him throw off a mound first.

That means righthander Anthony Swarzak will remain in the starting rotation for now. Swarzak is 0-2 with a 3.75 ERA in two starts. He originally filled in for Liam Hendriks when he had food poisoning. Hendriks is healthy and in the rotation, but Swarzak will start Thursday.

Jason Marquis is set to make his Twins debut Wednesday. He joined the team Monday and went through the standard bullpen session. He missed two weeks of spring training to spend time with his daughter, Reese, in New York after she was seriously injured in a bicycle accident. He was pleased to say that she is now out of the hospital.

Willingham gets award

Outfielder Josh Willingham's hot start earned him American League player of the week honors. In six games last week, he hit .455 (10-for-22) with three homers, four RBI and six runs.

Willingham, after going 1-for-5 Monday in the 7-3 victory over New York, is batting .389 with four homers and eight RBI. He hit an RBI single in the first inning Monday, extending his hitting streak to 10 games. He is the first Twins player to start a season with a streak that long since Jacque Jones recorded a hit in the first 11 games in 2002.

"It's always an honor," Willingham said. "I just wish we could have won more games."

Willingham was named player of the week one other time, in 2009 when he was with Washington.

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