"Well, now that he's healthy, we're just hoping he can pick up where he left off," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He didn't throw the ball great in Triple-A, but I think it was about building arm strength and all those things. Now, he's going to have to get back to locating and using his breaking ball."
In seven starts with the Twins between May 12 and June 13, Walters went 2-2 with a 5.40 ERA. After allowing three runs or fewer and finishing six innings in all four of his starts in May, he struggled in June, allowing 18 runs in 9 1/3 innings over three starts.
But Walters said the rehab assignment at the tail end of his lengthy DL trip was a positive one, allowing him to get back into action.
"I threw 90-something pitches on Thursday. I'm cleared and ready to go," Walters said. "I think part of the rehab assignment was knocking the rust off. I hadn't been out in a while, getting back into the swing of things.
"You don't realize how quick control and everything kind of goes away when you're not playing everyday. You take a couple weeks off, all of a sudden you're back trying to throw again and it's a little out of whack."
Gardenhire mentioned that a date with the American League Central-leading White Sox isn't the easiest way to ease back into things, but Walters pitched his strongest outing of the season in Chicago on May 22, allowing just two runs on five hits in a complete-game effort, striking out eight.
"That's a tough venue, going to Chicago, getting that first start back up there," Gardenhire said. "But he actually pitched his best game of the year there, I think a complete ballgame.
"He's going to have to pitch really well against that team and the way the ball flies there. Use all of his pitches and locate the ball and keep the pace of the game going, just like before. We'll see how he does. It'll be interesting to see, first time back."