Twins being cautious with Arcia's knee

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Minnesota Twins shortstop Doug Bernier (17) and left fielder Oswaldo Arcia (31) celebrate after they defeated the Chicago White Sox in a 5-2 victory in a baseball game in Chicago, Sunday, Aug. 11, 2013.

Photo: Andrew Nelles, Associated Press - Ap

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Oswaldo Arcia has provided some glimpses of what a baseball season without 90 losses could look like in a few years. There’s thunder in his bat, and he doesn’t appear to fear anyone. All you want to do is watch him swing.

But the rookie might not be able to do that over the final days of this long, losing season. Arcia on Wednesday went for an MRI exam on his bruised right knee two days after banging it off Target Field’s unforgiving wall. The MRI came back showing no structural damage, and he’s listed as day-to-day.

“He’s actually feeling better today and wanted to go out there and horse around in the outfield,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “But they wanted to go do this and make sure everything is sound.”

Arcia, 22, is batting .254 with 14 homers and 43 RBI. On Sunday, he tied the Twins’ rookie record for RBI in a game when he drove in six of the Twins’ seven runs in a loss to Oakland. He could develop into a middle-of-the-order force, but it will take time. He also has to work on his defense, and he committed a baserunning gaffe Sunday.

The Twins would like to see him in the lineup before Sunday’s finale, but his knee must be sound.

Rotation news

Gardenhire announced that righthander Mike Pelfrey will not pitch again this season. Pelfrey, who had Tommy John surgery in April of 2012, pitched 152⅔ innings in his first season back and the Twins felt that was enough. He went 5-13 with a 5.19 ERA.

He pitched well at times, but wasn’t efficient at others. He has made it clear that he would like to return next season, but probably would ask for more than the $4 million he made in 2013.

‘Hammer’ out

Outfielder Josh Willingham was held out of the starting lineup after going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.

“He did not have much success [Tuesday],” Gardenhire said. “I think he was a little devastated. He didn’t take too good of swings. He was a little flustered and I could see that.”

Willingham is batting .188 since returning to the lineup following knee surgery.

Leyland backs Gardy

A report in the Chicago Tribune suggested that the Chicago Cubs would be interested in Gardenhire if he became available. Ryan has said any announcement concerning Gardenhire would take place soon after the end of the season, but it’s not surprising there would be interest in a manager with Gardenhire’s résumé.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland has long been a Gardenhire supporter and spoke for him once again Wednesday.

“I think he’s the best manager in the league. I’ve been on the record in saying that. And I still think that,” Leyland said. “He runs a great game, and he’s a great people person. I have the utmost respect for Ron, and I think he does a terrific job. When he’s got the cards, he plays ’em as good as anybody.”

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