The Twins had been taking a day-by-day approach with Hudson, using extra caution because he had surgery on the same hand in 2007 and '08. Gardenhire wanted the 32-year-old second baseman to hit from both sides of the plate on the field before being activated.
"He wanted to be activated last Tuesday, we just wanted to give him some more days," Gardenhire said. "I wanted to see him swing on the field because that was important. I told him, 'I will not activate you unless you swing on the field.'"
After taking the early BP, Hudson ran across the outfield to where Gardenhire was standing in right-center field to let him know he felt good enough to play.
"We know his hand's not 100 percent, but I think if he doesn't do anything silly, and doesn't overswing, he'll be fine," Gardenhire said. "That's what he tells me. Nobody knows his hand better than him."
Hudson is in the lineup against the Phillies on Friday, batting second and playing second. He hit .305 with three home runs and 16 RBIs in 49 games for the Twins this season before making his trip to the DL.
In Hudson's absence, the Twins have struggled to fill the void his spot leaves in the lineup. His replacements in the No. 2 hole went a combined 6-for-50.
"I think we missed that veteran in that two-hole spot," Gardenhire said. "He knows how to work counts, and he knows how to get on base, shoot balls through the hole. He was doing all that stuff pretty good, and hitting .300, too. And we missed his defense -- the whole package. He's played very well for us."
In a corresponding move, the Twins placed left-handed reliever Jose Mijares on the Family Medical Emergency List. He flew to Venezuela following Thursday's game to deal with a family matter. Gardenhire said he does not expect Mijares to return before the Mets series next weekend.
Injured Twins reliever Clay Condrey was expected to throw 20 pitches in an intrasquad game in Fort Myers, Fla., on Friday.
Zach Schonbrun is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.