BAL@MIN: Fuld robs Machado with an outstanding catch

DETROIT -- Minnesota outfielder Sam Fuld assures he will be the exact same player he was before his first diagnosed concussion now that he has rejoined the club.

Fuld was on a rehab assignment with Double-A New Britain and fills the roster spot vacated by catcher Josmil Pinto, who was optioned to Triple-A Rochester on Wednesday.

"I feel great," Fuld said before Friday's game, though he wasn't in the lineup. "It's good to get back out there and test myself. It's been a while now since I've had any symptoms. I'm back to normal and I feel like a new man."

The reason Fuld was held out of the lineup, manager Ron Gardenhire said, wasn't any added precautions, but the fact that Tigers starter Drew Smyly entered Friday holding left-handed batters to an average of .138 this season.

"Tonight's not a good night for lefties at all," Gardenhire said.

Fuld said his primary goal through his rehabilitation, during which he went 6-for-14 with two doubles and a homer, was to return with no reservations about the way he plays. He added that he wasn't tested in New Britain by any fly balls to the wall, like the one that caused his concussion on a collision with the Target Field outfield wall last month.

"If it happens again, I'll be better prepared mentally," Fuld said of the injury. "It was a difficult injury to deal with. It was a unique injury."

Meanwhile, the club called catcher Eric Fryer up from Rochester to function as Kurt Suzuki's backup. Also, Aaron Hicks was placed on the disabled list Friday, retroactive to Tuesday.

Fryer, who played in six games for the big league club last season, said he'll rely on Suzuki and bench coach Terry Steinbach, a former catcher, to get him up to speed on the tendencies of the Minnesota pitching staff.

"I'm definitely going to lean on those guys quite a bit," Fryer said.

Hicks had not played since Monday. He injured his shoulder while making a game-ending diving catch in center field on Saturday against the Astros, and he said earlier this week that he was still having trouble throwing the ball.

Back pain keeps Dozier out of Twins' lineup

MIN@TOR: Kratz ends up on second as Twins collide

DETROIT -- After leaving the Twins' finale in Toronto on Wednesday in the fourth inning with lower-back pain, Brian Dozier was out of the lineup for the series opener in Detroit on Friday.

"The day off helped yesterday," Dozier said. "I got some rest and stuff. I woke up maybe a little better today. It's still not necessarily just tight -- a little pain in my lower left back.

"Like I said before, if I can play, I'm going to play. But I can't physically play today."

Dozier visited with a chiropractor on Wednesday and said the goal is for him to be back in the lineup Saturday.

The 27-year-old is unaccustomed to watching games from the bench. Prior to the injury, he had played in every single defensive inning for Minnesota this season. In the second inning Wednesday, he fell while pursuing a popup, irritating his back, which began hurting Tuesday.

"It's not fun at all," Dozier said of the new vantage point. "I don't know if I should've played the last game in Toronto or not, but it was tolerable enough to play. But that incident made it worse."

Gardenhire reflects on first-round pick Gordon

First-round pick Nick Gordon on joining the Twins

DETROIT -- At this year's Winter Meetings, former All-Star pitcher Tom "Flash" Gordon approached Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. Gordon told him that he'd love to see the Twins take his son, Nick, in this year's First-Year Player Draft.

Gordon's hope came true when the Twins used their first-round pick on the shortstop.

"We had a nice conversation," Gardenhire recalled Friday of his talk with Tom Gordon during the offseason. "I'm glad it came to pass that we got him. I'm really happy that we've got him in our organization."

Gardenhire managed against Tom Gordon in the Minors, and they have maintained a good relationship. The younger Gordon is just 18, and Gardenhire hopes to still be with the club if and when he makes it to the Twins.

"I know he's a heck of an athlete and a heck of a player," Gardenhire said. "I'd love to manage him. If I'm around that long, I'm doing good."