MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said left-handed reliever Glen Perkins was unavailable to pitch in Friday's 7-6 loss to the Royals because he fell down the stairs at his home and hurt his leg.
Gardenhire also said he was told by pitching coach Rick Anderson to try to avoid using right-handed reliever Jared Burton, as the club is trying to monitor his innings after coming off an injury-plagued 2011 season.
Gardenhire instead turned to left-hander Brian Duensing and right-hander Jeff Gray, who combined to allow two runs in the eighth inning of their eventual one-run loss.
"Perkins was not available," Gardenhire said. "He had fell down the stairs at home and hurt his leg. He was pretty sore, so I wasn't going to use him at all last night, and Andy really wanted to keep Burton out of there last night. We've thrown him every other day since the start, so we went with what we had."
Liriano confident rest will pay dividends
MINNEAPOLIS -- Left-hander Francisco Liriano threw his second bullpen session on Saturday to get ready to make his scheduled start on Tuesday against the Angels after missing a turn in the rotation.
Liriano, who has an 11.02 ERA in four outings, threw 70 pitches and said he thinks the layoff has helped him both mentally and physically.
"Things are working way better," said Liriano, who last started on Sunday against the Rays. "So I got better. I'm throwing the ball down now. I'm throwing strikes. It's only a bullpen, but I feel I'm getting better."
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said the club remains optimistic that Liriano will be able to turn it around, as his stuff is there, but now it's up to him to harness it moving forward.
"He's feeling good," Gardenhire said. "He says he feels great. 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."
Willingham back after son's birth
MINNEAPOLIS -- After missing two games to attend the birth of his son, Rogan Jaynes, left fielder Josh Willingham was set to return to the lineup and bat cleanup against the Royals on Saturday before the game was postponed due to rain.
Willingham was officially activated before the scheduled gametime, with outfielder Ben Revere optioned to Triple-A Rochester. Revere went 3-for-7 with a walk in two games in Willingham's absence.
First baseman Chris Parmelee was also scheduled be held out of action for the second straight game after being struck in the helmet by a fastball on Wednesday.
But it was only for precautionary reasons, as Parmelee has not suffered any concussion-like symptoms.
"Parmelee's OK," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said before the game was called due to rain. "We're going to still back him up another day here. We've got a lefty going. I don't see any sense in it. He took a good whack. He's got a black eye. There was still a little swelling there. [Friday] they told me late in the game if I need him."
Pavano looking to regain velocity
MINNEAPOLIS -- Right-hander Carl Pavano has seen a decrease in his velocity so far this season, but still can't quite put a finger on why.
Pavano's fastball is averaging 86.3 mph this season after averaging 89 mph last year, according to FanGraphs.com. His fastball also averaged 86.6 mph in his start against the Royals on Friday, when he allowed five runs (four earned) over 6 1/3 innings.
"It'd be nice to feel a little stronger out there," Pavano said after his outing that raised his ERA to 4.91 on the season.
Pavano said he thinks it's because he's been too rotational in his delivery, which causes him to get too far underneath the ball, which causes his fastball to lose velocity and flatten out.
"It doesn't sound like a lot, but 3-4 miles per hour is a lot with a pitcher like that," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We talked to him when he came out of the game and he said, 'I can't figure it out right now.' I ask him if he's OK health-wise and he said he feels fine, no different than he always has. As you get older you get all kinds of soreness and those things, and all you can do is hope maybe as it warms up, his arm reacts a little better."