Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.

Nishioka batting seventh, and Mauer batting third vs. Padres

Posted by: Phil Miller under Twins game coverage Updated: June 17, 2011 - 5:30 PM

The Twins open a stretch of 15 consecutive games against National League teams facing a familiar face from the AL Central.

Lefthander Clayton Richard went to the Padres from the White Sox in the 2009 Jake Peavy trade. He made four appearances against the Twins for Chicago, including one start, and went 0-1 with a 10.57 ERA.

Richard went 14-9 with a 3.75 ERA for the Padres last year, and he’s in their group of hard-luck starters this year. In three June starts, he is 0-3 with a 2.89 ERA. He’s held lefties to a .238 average in his career, so that’ll be another challenge for Joe Mauer & Co.

Update: Jim Thome (strained quad/back) is close to game-ready in Florida. He’ll get some at-bats down there, and then the Twins must decide whether to activate him for their six-game road trip to NL parks in San Francisco and Milwaukee.

* Jason Kubel (sprained foot) and Denard Span (concussion) have been ruled out to travel to SF. That means the earliest return day for them is next Friday in Milwaukee.

* The Twins want Joe Nathan (strained flexor muscle) to pitch in 2-3 games for Class AAA Rochester, including back-to-back days. Manager Ron Gardenhire hinted at next Friday as the target day for Nathan’s return.

PADRES (30-40)

Chris Denorfia, RF
Jason Bartlett, SS
Chase Headley, 3B
Ryan Ludwick, DH
Cameron Maybin, CF
Jesus Guzman, LF
Anthony Rizzo, 1B
Nick Hundley, C
Alberto Gonzalez, 2B

Starting pitcher: LH Clayton Richard (2-8, 4.06 ERA)

TWINS (28-39)

1. Ben Revere, CF
2. Alexi Casilla, 2B
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Michael Cuddyer, 1B
5. Delmon Young, LF
6. Danny Valencia, 3B
7. Tsuyoshi Nishioka, SS
8. Luke Hughes, DH
9. Jason Repko, RF

Starting pitcher: LH Brian Duensing (3-6, 4.98 ERA).

Target Field. First pitch: 7:10 p.m. TV: FSN. Twins Radio Network

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