Perkins won't join Twins on road after setback

Hughes takes step forward with bullpen session

Perkins won't join Twins on road after setback

MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins pitchers Glen Perkins and Phil Hughes are both dealing with back injuries, but Perkins suffered a setback in his bout with back spasms, while Hughes took a step forward by throwing a bullpen session without any issues on Thursday.

Perkins, who has been dealing with lower back spasms since Aug. 23, made one-inning appearances on Friday and Tuesday, but woke up with the back issues returning on Wednesday. He won't go on the club's road trip that starts Friday in Houston, as he'll remain in Minnesota to receive treatment.

"I honestly don't know what happened," Perkins said. "I pitched Tuesday. That day I would have said I felt 90-95 percent and everything was good, everything was fine. I pitched. I didn't think anything of it after the game and then when I woke up yesterday, I couldn't get out of bed. It completely blindsided me -- so yeah, I don't feel any better today. It's going to take a little bit more time than it did the last time."

With Perkins out, Twins manager Paul Molitor said Kevin Jepsen will be the club's closer. Jepsen has already saved five games since being traded to Minnesota from Tampa Bay on July 31. Molitor said he wouldn't rule out Perkins joining the Twins sometime on their nine-game road trip, but that it's hard to predict.

"I talked to him last night and he said he went home after pitching the other night and had no thoughts of anything physical," Molitor said. "But he got up and things changed. He thought it was something he could get through yesterday, but instead it got worse. So it's a tough thing because you can't inject it, it's not anything that needs that kind of attention other than trying to find ways to calm it down."

While Perkins suffered a setback, Hughes is on the road to recovery. The right-hander, on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Aug. 10 with lower back inflammation, threw a 35-pitch bullpen session on Thursday.

"It was good," Hughes said. "It was a pretty good effort for about 35 [pitches]. I felt great. Got through it. If I feel good tomorrow, the plan is another one on Sunday of about 40 or 45. And then meet the team the last day in Kansas City [on Wednesday] for a simulated game. That's kind of the plan right now."

Hughes said he remains hopeful he'll be able to rejoin the rotation before the end of the season, but noted his back injury is something that won't be fully healed until the offseason.

"It's always going to be there until I have a full offseason to rest it," Hughes said. "But right now, I don't have the luxury of waiting until I'm 100 percent and symptom-free. I'm just doing everything I can to build it back up."

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