Hughes cleared to start as Twins shuffle arms

Nolasco, Duensing to be activated Saturday; Milone, Thielbar sent to Triple-A

Hughes cleared to start as Twins shuffle arms

MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins right-hander Phil Hughes, who left his start on Wednesday with a minor flexor strain in his left hip, threw a bullpen session with no issues on Friday and will make his next start on Monday against the A's.

Hughes left his outing after just five innings, as he said he felt tightness that worsened as the game went along. But Hughes was confident it was just a minor injury and after throwing his bullpen on Wednesday, he will make his scheduled start.

"He reported he's ready to pitch on Monday," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "That's obviously good news for us."

The Twins will also activate right-hander Ricky Nolasco (elbow inflammation) and left-handed reliever Brian Duensing (right intercostal strain) from the 15-day disabled list on Saturday. To make room on the 25-man roster, the club optioned left-handers Tommy Milone and Caleb Thielbar to Triple-A Rochester following Friday night's 1-0 victory over the White Sox. Also on Friday, the club placed reliever Tim Stauffer on the 15-day disabled list with a right intercostal strain, and called up right-hander Ryan Pressly.

"I understand what they're trying to do," Milone said. "They feel like they have their best five up here, and they want me to go down there and get work as a starter instead of being up here and toil around in the bullpen."

Nolasco will start against the White Sox on Saturday, while Duensing will head to the bullpen.

Nolasco threw 67 pitches in a rehab start with Class A Cedar Rapids on Sunday, and is expected to be limited to about 85 pitches on Saturday. But he's excited to be back, as he made just one start this year before being placed on the DL.

"I'm just glad to be getting back to normal and to being on my five days," Nolasco said. "I want to start building on that and start pitching deep into games."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.