Dozier ready to return to Twins' lineup

Second baseman missed 3 games with sore hamstring

Dozier ready to return to Twins' lineup

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins received positive injury news on Monday, as second baseman Brian Dozier was cleared to return to the lineup after being held out for the previous three games with a sore right hamstring, while third baseman Trevor Plouffe is still dealing with pain in his right intercostal muscle but will be able to play through it.

Monday's series opener with the Orioles was postponed due to inclement weather. The makeup game was set for July 28. 

Dozier, who suffered the injury in Houston on Wednesday, wasn't in the starting lineup over the weekend against the White Sox, but did walk in a pinch-hit appearance on Sunday. After talking with manager Paul Molitor and getting cleared by trainers, Dozier said he thought the injury was behind him.

"It's gotten better every day," Dozier said. "I'm pretty much all the way there. I kind of know my limitations on what I can and can't do. So you have to be smart, but I told Mollie I wasn't going to lie to him and was going to tell him when I was ready, and I am now."

Dozier had been swinging a hot bat before the injury, hitting .286/.362/.500 with two homers and 10 RBIs over his last 11 games entering Monday.

"It was unfortunate his leg injury occurred when he was starting to get some hits," Molitor said. "I think he's got a couple good runs in him. He's kind of a streaky guy. So it was a little chance for him to regroup with the four days off."

Plouffe, meanwhile, is still dealing with the intercostal injury that caused him to be placed on the 15-day disabled list on April 18. He's played in five games since being activated from the DL on Tuesday, hitting .150 with a double. But the training staff said he's not in danger of worsening the injury, so Plouffe is going to try to keep playing.

"I think it's kinda awkward to watch a guy go through a motion of looking like he's really struggling but him telling you he's all right," Molitor said. "Sometimes you wonder if he's doing the right thing. But in talking to the medical people, he's going to have some discomfort there and it obviously hasn't healed back to 100 percent, but there's a not a lot of risk of it getting worse."

Worth noting

• Center fielder Byron Buxton has started to heat up at Triple-A Rochester, hitting three homers over his last six games with a .276/.344/.534 line in 14 games there. He's struck out 15 times in 64 plate appearances.

"He's started to pick it up a little bit with home runs, doubles and stolen bases," Molitor said. "Strikeouts are still occurring so I think [hitting coach Tom] Brunansky to talked to Chad Allen down there about getting him to shorten his swing and put the ball in play more."

• Injured pitchers Kyle Gibson and Glen Perkins, both on the DL with shoulder strains, are continuing their rehab at Target Field. Perkins is throwing from 60 feet, while Gibson could throw off a mound as early as this week. But there's no timetable for either's return.

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. 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.