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Perkins hopes to be available Tuesday

Twins closer receives cortisone shots for neck stiffness

BALTIMORE -- Twins closer Glen Perkins was unavailable for games in Milwaukee and Cincinnati in late June with neck discomfort. It wasn't until he was warming up for the All-Star Game on July 14 that he knew something was wrong.

"That was the first time when I threw where I was like, 'That isn't right,'" Perkins said.

An MRI on Tuesday revealed that the "something" was a bulge between the C-5 and C-6 vertebrae in his neck. It's something the Minnesota closer has been dealing with for a couple of months, but not every day.

Perkins explained that on certain days he would feel completely normal, but would experience others where his left shoulder wouldn't move the way he wanted. He noticed how the injury would affect his velocity and location, and admitted he may have been a little stubborn in not taking care of it sooner.

"I regret not probably getting it taken care of earlier," Perkins said. "But like I said, there were days where I felt that I could compete. So when there are days you feel that you can compete, it's hard to say, 'I'm going to take a couple days off and get this done.'"

The Twins believe they can avoid placing Perkins on the 15-day disabled list, as the three-time All-Star received two cortisone shots Tuesday. Perkins received a cortisone injection in January for a similar injury and said it helped for about five months.

He was already feeling much better Wednesday, and planned to be back in the bullpen by Tuesday at the latest. Twins manager Paul Molitor was a bit more prudent with a timetable, not divulging an exact date.

"When you get injected and you have a little neck issue, I want to see a guy get up and play catch and start heading in the right direction," Molitor said. "I think we are all encouraged that this is going to be something that he can avoid being disabled for 15 days and we can get him back serviceable here."

Perkins is set to begin throwing Saturday, and if that goes well, Tuesday may be a realistic option, according to the skipper. Perkins believed the timing for the injection was right, as he hopes to be back for Minnesota's final stretch.

"It gets to a point where you feel like you get lucky or that you can't compete and it mounts, and it just got to a point where I knew we would all be better if I got it taken care of and was ready for the last six weeks of the season," Perkins said.

Connor Smolensky is an associate reporter for
Read More: Minnesota Twins, Glen Perkins