CLEVELAND -- Liam Hendriks is happy to be making his fourth start for the Twins this season and happy that it will come at Progressive Field, where he earned his first Major League win.
Between 2011-12, Hendriks went 17 outings without a victory before getting a win on Sept. 19, 2012, when he held the Indians to two runs and two hits over six innings. After Friday's win, the Twins officially recalled Hendriks from Triple-A Rochester to start Saturday. To make room, they optioned right-hander Michael Tonkin to the Red Wings.
"It's a good group of guys up here," Hendriks said before Friday's game. "It's a lot of fun, especially in this league. I enjoy it. I'm glad to be back for sure."
The Twins last caught a glimpse of Hendriks -- an Australia native -- on Aug. 9. In the second game of a road doubleheader against the White Sox, Hendriks had a quality start but received a no-decision. Over his last 10 games with the Red Wings, Hendriks had a 3.65 ERA.
"I was throwing the ball well and getting ahead of guys," Hendriks said. "It was fun to pitch, and hopefully I can bring that up here and keep the roll going."
Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said Hendriks was the right pitcher at the right time. The club optioned right-hander Kyle Gibson to Rochester on Tuesday, meaning the Twins needed a starter for Saturday, which happened to be Hendriks' next turn to throw.
Gardenhire noticed positive results from Hendriks in the Minor Leagues as well as his outing in Chicago.
"He threw the ball well for us," Gardenhire said. "He used all his pitches, changed speeds. So now we'll see if we can do it again. But right time goes a long ways, too."
In 23 career Major League starts, Hendriks is 1-11 with a 5.49 ERA. He is 0-1 with a 3.94 ERA in three outings this year.
Tonkin made one appearance during his recent stint with Minnesota. On Wednesday, he gave up three unearned runs in one inning at Detroit.
Hendriks' streak of 17 winless outings at the start of his career tied for the third-longest such stretch in Major League history. He's hoping Progressive Field might treat him well once again. In two career outings here, he is 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA across 12 innings.
"It's always a place that I like to play at," Hendriks said Friday. "The good thing is, we play here a lot. So hopefully in the future there will be a lot more starts here. Tomorrow, I'll just go out there and attack the hitters and see how it goes."
Doctors pleased with Mauer's recovery
CLEVELAND -- Before he can return to the field, Twins catcher Joe Mauer must be able to exercise without activating the concussion-like symptoms that landed him on the disabled list earlier this week.
On Thursday, Mauer was examined by a doctor in Detroit, who was satisfied with how the catcher responded to various questions. Mauer then flew back to Minnesota on Friday to meet with doctors at the Mayo Clinic. They were also pleased with Mauer's recovery.
Mauer is supposed to go to Target Field on Saturday to see Twins trainer Lanning Tucker, who will try to figure out when the catcher can begin exercising. To start, Mauer will walk at a pace that brings his heart rate to 60 percent. Soon after that, he can jog and then start getting back to baseball activities again.
"The doctors today didn't see anything abnormal," Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said Friday. "I think with every player [with this problem] you're just relying upon what they tell you, how they feel."
Mauer, 30, was placed on the seven-day disabled list on Tuesday, when he was a late scratch from the lineup after feeling dizzy during batting practice. In his place, Ryan Doumit has caught two games, as has Chris Herrmann, who started on Friday. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said those two players will continue to split the load while Mauer is out.
Before his injury, Mauer was batting .324 with a .404 on-base percentage with 11 home runs and 47 RBIs this season. The six-time All-Star has thrown out 43 percent of would-be base stealers in 75 games at catcher.
While the Twins certainly miss their best player's production, they don't want to force an early return, which could compound the damage in the long run.
"It's different from breaking a bone or anything else," Antony said. "You're really at the mercy of the player for them to tell you how they feel and when they're ready to progress to the next step."
Twins recognize Perkins' steady role at closer
CLEVELAND -- The significance of Twins closer Glen Perkins' save on Thursday in Detroit was not lost on the Twins.
The save was Perkins' 30th of the season, making him the first Twins reliever to reach that mark since Joe Nathan finished 2009 with 47 saves. In 50 outings this season entering Friday, Perkins has a 2.31 ERA and 90.9 save percentage. Across 50 2/3 innings, the All-Star reliever has 61 strikeouts against 12 walks, while keeping opponents to a .206 batting average.
"He's been one of the steadies," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said, "and it would have been a lot earlier if we had given him more opportunities. We've kind of scuffled along with our season, and we didn't give him enough opportunities, but he's taken advantage of the ones that he's had.
"There haven't been too many that he hasn't been able to finish it off. ... Kind of a fun thing to watch."
Mark Emery is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.