CINCINNATI -- Twins closer Matt Capps understands the decision the team has made to keep him out of games the last week. That doesn't mean he likes it.
Capps made his first appearance since suffering inflammation in his right shoulder on June 15 in the eighth inning of Saturday's 6-0 loss against Cincinnati. He threw 23 pitches while allowing one unearned run on one hit, one walk and one strikeout.
"I threw all of my pitches," Capps said after the game. "I threw sinkers, a couple of splits and a couple of sliders. The biggest thing, always, when you're beat up or banged up is how it is going to feel the first time in a game. You can throw as many bullpens and as many times on the side as you want to, but you can't simulate that atmosphere and that game environment. To get that first one is pretty good."
Manager Ron Gardenhire repeated the refrain he's sung the last week.
"We're trying to give him as many days as we possibly can," Gardenhire said before Saturday's game. "We know he wants to pitch. He will never not take the ball, but we're trying to give him as many days as we can to make sure he's good. We've been able to do that and that hasn't changed."
Capps leads the Twins with 14 saves, but it was Glen Perkins who got his second save of the season by striking out the final two batters with runners on first and third in Friday night's 5-4 win against the Reds.
"You see guys out there busting their tail and you see guys out there working and you want to be out there with them," Capps said. "You want to be out there competing with them. You come back in here after a good team win and you want to feel like you contributed and did something, but for the last week I haven't been able to do that."