Perkins' return critical to Twins' bullpen

Perkins' return critical to Twins' bullpen

Perkins' return critical to Twins' bullpen
NEW YORK -- Before returning to action with a scoreless eighth inning in the Twins' 7-6 loss to the Yankees on Thursday night, reliever Glen Perkins said his bullpen session on Wednesday went just fine and that he was ready to go despite missing three games with inflammation in his left forearm.

Perkins didn't travel with the team to New York on Sunday, as he stayed back after complaining of tenderness in his left arm related to some tightness in the radial nerve in his upper arm.

Helped by rest and anti-inflammatory medication, however, Perkins said the inflammation went away. He was cleared by team physician Dan Buss to throw a 40-pitch bullpen session early on Wednesday and ended up flying to New York later that day, arriving at the ballpark in the second inning of the Twins' 6-5 win.

Perkins said there was never any sharp pain in his forearm but that it was simply something he needed to take care of after struggling on Sunday, when he allowed three runs without recording an out.

"It wasn't like I threw a pitch and it was like, 'Ouch,'" Perkins said. "It was just something that was nagging. It felt like on Sunday I didn't have the strength to finish a pitch. There was no life. They were belt-high to letters, and that's how you can tell something isn't right. The velocity was there, but not the finish."

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was happy Perkins was able to avoid the disabled list, as the left-hander was the club's most reliable reliever last year, posting a 2.48 ERA in 61 2/3 innings.

"Getting Perkins back helps an awful lot," Gardenhire said. "We know he can go out there for the eighth inning."