Morneau might play in a week


Twins first baseman Justin Morneau

Photo: Chris Carlson, ASSOCIATED PRESS

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After traveling to the Cleveland Clinic on Tuesday to have his left wrist examined, Justin Morneau and the Twins are hopeful the slugger will be able to return to the starting lineup when he's eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list next Wednesday.

Morneau was examined by hand specialist Dr. Thomas Graham, who agreed with the Twins' diagnosis that Morneau has tendinitis in the wrist.

"He's going to try to swing a bat on Saturday," Twins General Manager Terry Ryan said. "He did receive a cortisone shot in Cleveland."

Morneau was batting .271 with four homers on April 21 before going on a 4-for-26 skid. It was during that time that he began to feel soreness in the wrist. A magnetic resonance imaging exam last week showed no structural damage, but the Twins decided to place him on the DL a few days later when he still couldn't swing a bat without discomfort.

Morneau is hitting .230 with four homers and nine RBI in 20 games this season.

On a roll

As righthander Jared Burton continues to pile up the zeroes, the Twins feel better and better about their late-inning relief plan.

Burton, an under-the-radar free agent signing during the offseason, entered Wednesday with a 2.25 ERA but on a monster run of 10 2/3 hitless innings. A single by the Angels' Vernon Wells on April 12 was the last hit off him. He has faced 35 batters without giving up a hit, and his 0.42 WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) is the second-best in baseball among qualifying relievers.

"That's exciting," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We talked about it in spring training, trying to figure out our bullpen, and we liked the way he was throwing the ball in spring training. His pitches are getting better as he goes along and gets more strength.

"We're not afraid to use him back-to-back but we're trying to stay away from too many times like that or multiple innings, and I think that's going to help him. He's pretty strong right now. The ball is coming out of his hand nice right now. Great changeup. Fantastic changeup. His slider is getting better, which he didn't throw a lot of those in spring training."

Burton calls his changeup a "splange-up" because of its split-finger action. It has helped him strike out 12 batters in 12 innings.

The Twins have been careful with Burton because he had shoulder surgery in April of 2011. But they believed he could be a key setup man and he hasn't disappointed. Burton said he's felt locked in, mechanically, since the April 13-15 series against the Rangers.

"It just is rewarding to see all the hard work come to fruition," Burton said. "It's kind of a long year ahead of us now. It's been, what, a month? If we start winning some games, it will be a lot more enjoyable that way."


• The Twins have scheduled tryout camps for June 9 in Fort Myers, Fla., and June 19-20 at the Metrodome. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. Players at the Dome camp must participate on June 19 to be eligible for the second day.

• Catcher Joe Mauer last week not only recovered from being hit in the left knee with a foul tip, he also had a slightly sore left hamstring. Mauer was able to play through the hamstring issue and is much better now.


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