MINNEAPOLIS -- Right-hander Joe Nathan, on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 24 with a right flexor muscle strain, faced Joe Mauer and prospect Miguel Sano in live batting practice on Wednesday, and is scheduled to fly back to the Twin Cities on Thursday.
Nathan told local reporters in Fort Myers, Fla., that he was ready to return to action with the Twins, but manager Ron Gardenhire said Nathan is only coming back to get checked out by doctors before heading to Triple-A Rochester for a rehab stint.
"I read a report that he's really close, but that's to be decided," Gardenhire said. "Our plan is for him to go to Triple-A and face hitters in a game situation two or three times. I guess there's a discrepancy. He believes he's ready to go. I heard that, I read that. So we'll have a conversation with him."
Nathan, who had Tommy John surgery that forced him to miss all of last season, struggled with a 7.63 ERA in 15 1/3 innings this year before being placed on the disabled list.