Ailing Twins slowly recovering

Perkins, Gibson progressing; Dozier still dealing with tight hamstring

Ailing Twins slowly recovering

CHICAGO -- The Twins entered their weekend series against the White Sox already ailing in the win column, and the bumps and bruises have only become more literal.

Topping the list of positives Sunday is the fact Byung Ho Park was in the lineup and good to go after leaving Saturday's game in the first inning shortly after he took a Chris Sale slider to his right knee. Park's exit meant Joe Mauer had his scheduled off-day nixed, but Park's quick return means Mauer got another shot at a day off on Sunday. Mauer entered having played in every game this season.

"There's no risk of playing," Molitor said regarding Park. "I think probably running around and playing defense is probably going to be the best thing for him, to keep him moving around."

Aside from the growing list of injuries, the Twins also have three Major Leaguers on the disabled list. Shortstop Eduardo Escobar is the latest addition, hitting the DL on Saturday with a left groin strain, but progress is coming along for pitchers Glen Perkins and Kyle Gibson.

Perkins, the Twins' left-handed closer, went on the DL retroactive to April 11 with a left posterior shoulder strain and has thrown only two innings this season. Molitor said Perkins has started playing catch at 60 feet.

"I just read the injury reports and talk to the trainers, and they say he's feeling a lot better than he was even a week ago," Molitor said.

Gibson went on the DL retroactive to April 23 with a right shoulder strain, and Molitor said he is expected to return to throwing off a mound soon. General manager Terry Ryan said that could happen within the next week, but it could take longer for Gibson to begin a rehab assignment. Gibson is 0-3 with a 6.10 ERA in four starts for the Twins this season.

As expected, catcher Kurt Suzuki was available, but not in the starting lineup after he left Saturday's game with upper trap tightness because of whiplash he experienced after taking a foul ball off the mask.

But not quite as expected, Brian Dozier was out of the lineup for a third consecutive day with tightness in his right hamstring. Dozier originally said he would be fine to play Saturday, then Sunday, but it has yet to happen. He also noted this is the first time in his career he has dealt with a hamstring injury.

"I try to use good judgment in where we're at in the season and potentially the downside and the risk of putting a player out there that's not at 100 percent, with a little bit of leg issue," Molitor said on Saturday. "I don't want him to go out there and do something that's going to put him out for a long period of time, and I think with what he's dealing with, that potentially could happen."

Cody Stavenhagen is a reporter for based in Chicago and covered the Twins on Sunday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.