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Punto may rejoin Twins in two weeks

Punto may rejoin Twins in two weeks

CLEVELAND -- Due to a rash of injuries, the Twins have been limited recently with their middle infield options. But the hope is that Nick Punto could possibly be ready to rejoin the team when he's eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list on June 21.

Punto, who has inflammation in his left hamstring tendon, has been feeling much better in recent days while completing a rehab program back in the Twin Cities, manager Ron Gardenhire said on Tuesday.

Things have been going so well that Punto is expected to head to Fort Myers, Fla., by this weekend for the start of his second rehab stint there. But while the Twins are in need of another infielder who can play the middle, the club is not going to rush Punto back if he's not ready.

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"He'll have a week down there until he's eligible to come off the DL, but we're going to take as much time as necessary," Gardenhire said.

Unlike Punto's first rehab stint in Florida, which came after he strained that left hamstring in early May, this time the infielder will take part in more than extended spring training games. Gardenhire said that Punto will likely play at least 2-3 games for Class A Fort Myers to really test the muscle for a full nine innings.

"Instead of him saying, 'I'm ready to go,' we're going to make sure this time that he is," Gardenhire said.

Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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