Recovering Twins GM Ryan working way back into driver's seat

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Twins General Manger Terry Ryan greeted Kendrys Morales during Sunday's news conference announcing the signing of the slugger.

Photo: Brace Hemmelgarn, Minnesota Twins

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– Terry Ryan is back, but is the Twins general manager doing anything more than running news conferences?

That brought a chuckle from assistant GM Rob Antony, who is on the three-city road trip to Toronto, Detroit and Boston.

“It’s nice to be able to go in and go back to discussing everything [with him] and go over everything,” Antony said.

Ryan was present at Target Field news conferences Sunday for the signing of free agent Kendrys Morales and Monday for the signing of first-round draft pick Nick Gordon. But Ryan is taking more daily control of the front office, too.

Ryan actually was the closer on the deal to sign Morales. The Twins contacted Scott Boras, Morales’ agent, on June 2 to make sure Morales would come to Minnesota, sent a scout to watch Morales work out at Boras’ training facility in Miami and went from there.

“We talked and worked together on it,” Antony said. “but he has a relationship with Scott. He knows him a whole lot better than I do.”

Ryan, back after five months following cancer treatment, still has to go through physical therapy for swallowing. But Antony said teams should start calling Ryan directly to talk about players. Antony said Ryan is the only one who knows how he feels, but he looks like he has got his spark back. Ryan should be on the team’s next road trip toward the end of the month.

“It’s uplifting for the entire office,” Antony said.

Mauer returns

Joe Mauer was back in the lineup Monday after getting Sunday off. Mauer got the day off after batting .205 with no home runs and two RBI over his previous 20 games with five walks and a whopping 17 strikeouts. Gardenhire hoped the break will lead to the return of some Mauerness to the Twins lineup.

But Mauer went 0-for-4 with a double-play grounder in the 5-4 loss to Toronto, dropping his average to .259.

“I guarantee that he needed it,” Gardenhire said. “There’s no doubt in my mind. Not so much physical it was more mentally. He was a little beat up. He was beating himself up, through our conversations. I have a pretty good feel for that stuff.”

Gardenhire added: “It’s not like he wasn’t hitting the ball. It’s just not the Joe everyone is used to.”

Hicks has shoulder problem

Aaron Hicks injured his right shoulder while diving for a ball late in Sunday’s game against Houston, and it’s affecting his throwing. Hicks struggled while throwing on the field during early workouts Monday.

“He’s available to run and maybe hit, but I don’t think the throwing is totally ready,” Gardenhire said.

It’s bad timing for Hicks, who could be on the hot seat by the end of the road trip. Sam Fuld has had no setbacks since beginning a minor league rehabilitation assignment last week. With Hicks in the middle of a transition to being a righthanded hitter only, the Twins could send Hicks to Class AAA Rochester to work on his swing once Fuld is ready.

Etc.

• Injured righthander Mike Pelfrey was examined by Dr. James Andrews on Monday in Pensacola, Fla., and Andrews was scheduled to speak with Twins doctors on Monday night. The Twins are expected to have a full update on Pelfrey on Tuesday.

• Outfielder Jason Kubel, designated for assignment Sunday to make room for Morales, was asked to consider accepting a minor league assignment. Early indications are that Kubel isn’t interested in that.

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