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.

Twins update: Baker, Slowey, Span, Casilla, Morneau, tonight's lineups

Posted by: Phil Miller under Twins game coverage Updated: August 9, 2011 - 7:20 PM

The Twins returned Scott Baker to the 15-day disabled list with a strained flexor muscle in his right elbow and recalled Kevin Slowey, who is scheduled to start Sunday in Cleveland.

Manager Ron Gardenhire said it didn't make sense to remove Anthony Swarzak from his long-relief role.

"Honestly, when you’ve got a pitcher down there like Slowey who’s throwing the ball well and healthy ... this is the right thing," Gardenhire said. "Just bring Slowey up, slide him into the rotation, keep Swarzy where he’s done really well.”

* Denard Span, who is 1-for-24 since returning from the disabled list, is getting the night off, with Ben Revere leading off and playing center field.

"[Span's] still coming back from that [concussion]," Gardenhire said. "It’s not perfect. He still has his moments. I talk to him daily, and today was a good day. Seeing the ball -- he talked about not really seeing the spin real good yet and picking up the ball and all those things, some of the issues he’s having. We’ll back him off and see where we go from there."

* Alexi Casilla has been sprinting around the bases during early batting practice and appears to be having no trouble with his hamstring. He can be activated from the DL on Friday.

Gardenhire said it's possible Justin Morneau will be ready to come off the DL on Monday, when the Twins open a three-game series in Detroit.

Streak stopper?

The Twins already have three losing streaks of six or more games this season, and tonight, they’ll try to avoid a fourth, as Francisco Liriano opposes Red Sox lefthander Erik Bedard at Target Field.

Liriano allowed seven runs over five innings in a 7-1 loss to the Angels last Thursday, the first of five consecutive defeats for the Twins.

Bedard, who arrived with the Red Sox in a July 31 trade from the Mariners, held Cleveland to three runs over five innings in his first start for Boston.

Quick fact: The Twins have one walk in their past 182 plate appearances, dating to last Wednesday in Anaheim, Calif. Jim Thome walked in the fourth inning Saturday against the White Sox, and since then, they've had 86 plate appearances without a walk.

Gibson, Slama update

Class AAA Rochester pitchers Kyle Gibson and Anthony Slama will be rehabbing their respective right elbow injuries and avoiding surgery -- for now.

The Twins diagnosed Gibson with a strained flexor muscle and a partial tear of his ulnar collateral ligament. Slama was diagnosed with a strained flexor muscle.

“Both players will report to the Twins rehab program in Fort Myers this week to begin strengthening and flexibility exercises of the right shoulder and elbow,” General Manager Bill Smith said in an e-mail. “Estimated return for both players will be determined after the initial phase of the rehab program.”

RED SOX (71-43)

1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
3. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
4. Kevin Youkilis, 3B
5. David Ortiz, DH
6. Jed Lowrie, SS
7. Carl Crawford, LF
8. Jason Varitek, C
9. Darnell McDonald, RF

Starting pitcher: LH Erik Bedard (4-7, 3.55 ERA)

TWINS (51-64)

1. Ben Revere, CF
2. Joe Mauer, 1B
3. Michael Cuddyer, 2B
4. Jason Kubel, RF
5. Jim Thome, DH
6. Danny Valencia, 3B
7. Delmon Young, LF
8. Tsuyoshi Nishioka, SS
9. Drew Butera, C

Starting pitcher: LH Francisco Liriano (7-9, 5.03 ERA)

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

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