MINNEAPOLIS – The Minnesota Twins did get to take care of one piece of business Saturday before their game against the Kansas City Royals was postponed by rain: Reliever Glen Perkins threw off a mound without pain or discomfort.
Perkins, one of Minnesota's more experienced relief pitchers, was not available to pitch in Friday night's loss to the Royals after falling down a flight of steps in his house that morning and banging the inside of his left knee in the process.
Despite rain and cold conditions at Target Field on Saturday, Perkins made sure he was still able to pitch.
"I went out there and threw off the mound," said Perkins, who is 0-1 with a 7.36 ERA after a strong 2011. "I played catch to make sure so I didn't have any questions."
Since he would have been available to pitch Saturday and is expected to be available Sunday, Perkins was able to laugh about the fall.
"I was at the top of the steps and I turned around to go back down and my foot slipped out," Perkins said. "Before I knew it, I was laying on my back. I fell all the way down about eight steps."
Losing Perkins for any stretch of time would have been something the Twins didn't need. Minnesota's starters are last in the majors with a 7.01 ERA and the group has a 2-11 record.
With Saturday's rainout, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire is juggling his rotation a little heading into a West Coast road trip. Jason Marquis, Saturday's scheduled starter, will start Sunday and Nick Blackburn will move back one day to start at the Los Angeles Angels.
Gardenhire has elected to keep the struggling Francisco Liriano on schedule and will pitch against the Angels on Tuesday. Liam Hendricks is expected to start Wednesday. Carl Pavano will get an extra day of rest and will pitch the first game in Seattle next Friday.
Liriano, who is 0-3 with an 11.02 ERA, threw his final bullpen session leading to Saturday's start. Liriano hasn't lasted more than five innings in a start this season and has given up five earned runs in each of his four starts.
"He's feeling good, he says he feels great," Gardenhire said. "Now it's just wait and see when we get out to Anaheim, how he handles it out on the field. That's all we can do."
The rainout gets the 36-year-old Pavano another day of rest. Pavano, who did not get a decision in Friday night's loss to Kansas City, has seen his velocity decrease this season, something that has contributed to his 1-2 record and 4.91 ERA.
"He said his ball kept drifting back over the plate on him, and it's probably because of that — not enough velocity to get the movement he needs," Gardenhire said. "But the big thing with us is we just haven't made quality pitches in big situations. That ends up costing you, and that's what happened with Pav a couple times. He's trying to make a pitch and he doesn't execute it, and when your velocity's down a little, like it is right now, they hit you pretty hard. He's frustrated right now."
Gardenhire doesn't know what has contributed to Pavano's loss of 3-4 mph on his fastball this season. Pavano has said that he feels fine and Gardenhire doesn't know if cooler spring temperatures have played a role.
"I wish I had an answer for you; I don't think anybody knows," he said. "The only guy that can tell you what's going on is the guy that has the ball in his hands. He works on mechanics as much as anybody. He knows what he has to do. He's been doing this a long time."
Notes: Saturday's game was scheduled to be made up as part of a split doubleheader on June 30. ... The Royals won their third straight game Friday night after losing 12 in a row. ... Bruce Chen (0-2), Saturday's scheduled starter for Kansas City, will go Sunday. ... The Twins have lost six in a row and are in last place in the AL Central.