MINNEAPOLIS -- Given their work together in the Minor Leagues, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire decided to stick with Chris Herrmann as his catcher with rookie left-hander Andrew Albers on the mound on Monday against the Indians.
The pair worked well in Albers' Major League debut against the Royals on Tuesday, as he threw 8 1/3 scoreless innings, falling just two outs short of a shutout in his first career start.
"They worked together in the Minors, and he's familiar with him and he likes working with him," Gardenhire said. "Their first game together was pretty good so we didn't want to screw with that too much."
With Herrmann behind the plate, Joe Mauer served as designated hitter, which gave Josh Willingham his first start in left field since being activated from the disabled list on Friday. Willingham had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on July 3, and he is expected to see regular action in left field moving forward.
"He has no problems," Gardenhire said. "His leg feels great -- says it feels better than in Spring Training. So he has no issues. So he's gonna play. It gives us an opportunity to move [Oswaldo] Arcia to right and DH Mauer tonight. We're going to need that DH for other guys."
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.