Reyes underwent an MRI exam Monday in Texas. Rangers orthopedist Dr. Keith Meister conferred with Twins team physician Dr. Dan Buss over the imaging results and delivered a more optimistic verdict than Reyes expected.
The tests revealed no significant tears or joint damage, beyond what Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said was termed "degeneration" of Reyes' rotator cuff and labrum.
Translation: Reyes is feeling pain brought on by years of general pitching wear and tear, but might be back within a matter of days after beginning the prescribed physical therapy and strengthening program.
Whether the prognosis will be good enough to keep Reyes off the disabled list might not be decided for the next day or two. But the urgency to restock the bullpen with able-bodied pitchers increased during Monday's game, when rookie left-hander Glen Perkins suffered a muscle strain near his left shoulder blade that will require a stint on the DL.
"That does make the situation a little more dire here for the next two days," Gardenhire said.
Before Monday's game, Gardenhire still appeared irritated by the disconnect with Reyes over the severity of the pitcher's pain. Reyes was sidelined April 29-May 5 because of shoulder soreness, but had indicated he was able to pitch. It wasn't until after Sunday's game, in which he threw nine pitches and gave up the winning run in Milwaukee, that Reyes said he was pitching hurt.
"He said he could pitch and we pitched him, and now we'll shut him down until we hear differently," Gardenhire said. "All [the trainers and coaches] can go by is what a player tells them."
Reyes said Monday that he has been trying to pitch through pain for more than three weeks, and it became unmanageable over the weekend. He said he warmed up three times Saturday with "horrible" pain, but was not used in the game. He felt better Sunday and told pitching coach Rick Anderson he could pitch through the pain until the team returned home after this three-game series in Texas.
"But when I got out there [Sunday], I couldn't throw my slider, and that's a big pitch for me," Reyes said. "I knew it was time to check it out. Maybe it was my fault, because I said I could pitch with pain. It was my fault for, you know, trying to be a hero. But I realized the only thing I'm doing is hurting the team."
Gardenhire said he and his staff were aware that Reyes had been continuing treatment for shoulder soreness, but that the pitcher had not indicated his condition had worsened.
Lone lefty leaves:
With Reyes out, Perkins was the Twins' only available left-handed reliever Monday. That deficiency wasn't as glaring as it might have been, since the Rangers lost left-handed regulars Hank Blalock and Brad Wilkerson to the disabled list in the past week.
"I trust Perkins out there," Gardenhire said before the game. "He can wing it with the best of them, and my right-handers can get left-handers out, too."
They'll have to now. Perkins got a called strikeout in the eighth against the Rangers' Frank Catalanotto, but dropped his glove in agony after pulling a muscle near his left shoulder blade throwing the sinker. He will go on the DL Tuesday and is expected to miss at least two weeks.
"It just feels like it keeps cramping up," Perkins said. "There's some dull pain back there, for sure. It's too bad, because I hadn't pitched for six days and I felt great. And that was probably the best pitch I threw all night."
Nick Punto replaced Jason Bartlett as the starting shortstop on Monday, as Bartlett was suffering from neck and shoulder stiffness that has worsened in recent days. Bartlett is hitless in his last 11 at-bats and only 2-for-17 (.118) on the road trip.
"It's a day-to-day thing," Gardenhire said. "We don't know if he's going to have to have an MRI or some kind of test, but he's not going to hit today. He's available, but he's not going to play."
Mauer's progress slow: Joe Mauer (strained left quadriceps) was eligible to come off the disabled list Sunday, but Gardenhire all but ruled out his return before the Twins start their six-game homestand on Friday.
"I doubt he'll be back this series, for sure," Gardenhire said. "He's still a little sore from doing all these exercises. And he hasn't done any serious running or squatting yet. I want him to be able to catch before we put him back out there."
Minor moments: Triple-A Rochester right-hander Kevin Slowey (5-2, 1.76) gave up three runs in seven innings of a 6-3 victory over Norfolk on Sunday. ... Double-A New Britain lefty Brian Duensing (4-1, 2.47) gave up three hits in 7 1/3 scoreless innings of a 2-1 victory over Connecticut on Sunday. ... Class A Beloit closer Robert Delaney improved to 14-for-14 in save chances Sunday with 1 2/3 scoreless innings in a 4-2 victory over Peoria. Delaney, 22, has a 0.72 ERA through 17 appearances (25 innings), with four walks and 28 strikeouts. Opponents are batting .141 against the undrafted free agent from St. Johns.
Briefly: Pitcher Jesse Crain has settled on New York Mets team orthopedist Dr. David Altcheck to perform the season-ending surgery to repair labrum and rotator cuff tears in his right shoulder. A surgery date has been set for next Tuesday. ... Justin Morneau is expected to get a partial rest with a start at designated hitter on Tuesday (replaced at first base by Jeff Cirillo). ... Torii Hunter is expected to DH on Wednesday, with Lew Ford taking the start in center field.
Up next: Twins left-handed ace Johan Santana (4-4, 3.26) faces Texas right-hander Kameron Loe (1-3, 6.21) Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. CT in the second game of this three-game series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.