Ricky Nolasco makes his first start since July 6 as he tries to remind the Twins why they signed him to the richest free agent contract in team history. Nolasco has missed more than a month because of a flexor pronator strain that led to him losing about one mile an hour off his fastball each month o the season, culminating with a July 6 outing against the Yankees in which he gave up six runs over two innings.

Nolasco admitted at that point that he had been bothered by some elbow discomfort going back to spring training. He says his arm feels the best it has in two years, so we'll see if that translates to a run of zeroes on the scoreboard.

To make room on the active roster, righthander Yohan Pino was optioned to Class AAA Rochester. Pino could come back a week from Saturday as the 26th man to start one of the doubleheader games against the Tigers.

Former Twin Josh Willingham is in the lineup and batting sixth for the Royals. With Eric Hosmer on the disabled list, Billy Butler has played first base with Willingham at designated hitter. He's 2-for-10 with a double, walk and stolen base since joining the Royals.

Royals (66-54)

Nori Aoki, RF
Oamr Infante, 2B
Salvador Perez, C
Billy Butler, 1B
Alex Gordon, LF
Josh Willingham, DH
Mike Moustakas, 3B
Alcides Escobar, SS
Jarrod Dyson, CF

Dany Duffy, LHP

Twins (54-65)

Danny Santana, CF
Brian Dozier, 2B
Joe Mauer, 1B
Kennys Vargas, DH
Trevor Plouffe, 3B
Kurt Suzuki, C
Oswaldo Arcia, RF
Eduardo Escobar, SS
Jordan Schafer, LF

Ricky Nolasco, RHP


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Postgame thoughts from LEN3: Perkins, Swarzak, Fryer

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Postgame: Thoughts on Nolasco, defense and Mauer