NEW YORK – Glen Perkins, the Twins All-Star closer, headed back to the Twin Cities on Tuesday to have his neck examined.
He's expected to undergo a magnetic resonance imaging exam Wednesday and receive a cortisone injection. The hope is that Perkins can return to the team sometime during its four-game series in Baltimore this week, but it usually takes a couple of days for the cortisone to take effect. The Twins learned of the injury after Monday's loss to the Yankees.
"It kind of became clear what needed to be done," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "We put a plan in motion to get that done as quickly as we can."
Perkins reported problems with his neck late last season and didn't pitch after Sept. 16 as the Twins opted to shut him down. He also battled a left forearm muscle strain. Perkins underwent a battery of tests at the time, which showed nothing serious
"It's enough that the fact is that he's had a little history with that," Molitor said. "You want to make sure you are doing the right thing and taking care of him and his career. Hopefully we'll find out nothing major, and we can alleviate some of the inflammation there and get him back out there as soon as we can."
Perkins had 28 saves and a 1.21 ERA at the All-Star break but has an 8.10 ERA since with two blown saves. He entered the game Monday in the 10th inning and loaded the bases on two hits and an intentional walk before the Yankees scored the winning run.
Twins righthander Mike Pelfrey was in the clubhouse when Perkins left for the airport.
"For the first three months he was the best closer in baseball," Pelfrey said. "Obviously here lately, he hasn't been the same guy. Obviously, he doesn't feel right. Obviously, he needs to get better and be Glen Perkins."
Molitor indicated that Trevor May was going to be the closer Tuesday if needed. It's unclear what Molitor's plans are without Perkins for a few days. Molitor might stick with May or go by matchups.
Dozier's second-half lull
Molitor was asked, once again, about Brian Dozier's home run pace. And he and couldn't resist.
"I don't know if he's getting close to 60 yet," the Twins manager deadpanned. "He's getting up there."
Dozier entered Tuesday batting .248 with 25 home runs and 61 RBI. Teams have pitched Dozier differently after he blasted 19 home runs before the All-Star break, but Molitor doesn't feel it has been drastic. He mentioned Dozier has been trying to make adjustments when he has two strikes on him but basically is the same hitter.
"I don't think it has changed all that much," he said. "They are trying to be a little more careful, depending on the situation of the game."
But something has happened, because Dozier entered Tuesday batting .220 with six home runs since the break.
•Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira was not in the starting lineup Tuesday because of a bone bruise in his right leg he suffered on Monday when he fouled off a Kyle Gibson pitch.
•Outfielder Eddie Rosario, who had two hits Monday, was not in the lineup Tuesday. Since righthanded hitters were batting .329 against CC Sabathia, the decision was made to give Shane Robinson a start. "I just think it's a good chance to get Shane back in there," Molitor said.
•Outfielder Byron Buxton returned to the Class AAA Rochester lineup on Tuesday after missing a game because of a collision with a wall on Sunday.
•Shortstop Danny Santana (left wrist) was activated from the disabled list Tuesday and was in Rochester's lineup.