KC@MIN: Willingham takes a round of batting practice

KANSAS CITY -- Twins outfielder Josh Willingham officially began his rehab assignment with Triple-A Rochester on Monday, and is expected to rejoin the Twins this weekend in Chicago against the White Sox.

Willingham, who had arthroscopic surgery on his knee on July 3, started at designated hitter for the Red Wings on Monday. He's expected to play five innings in left field on Tuesday and nine innings in left again on Thursday before being activated from the 15-day disabled list on Saturday.

"I think he'll probably DH, play the field, DH and then play the field," Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said. "If all goes well through Thursday, he'll probably join us in Chicago on Friday and be activated on Saturday."

Willingham initially wanted to rejoin Minnesota in time for its doubleheader on Friday against the White Sox, but the Twins wanted him to play in four games before making his return. Willingham, 34, was hitting .224/.356/.398 with 10 homers and 37 RBIs before being placed on the DL on July 1.

"Hopefully those four games are enough to get his stroke back," Antony said. "He's been out a while, but he's a veteran guy and probably a little more prepared to handle this type of thing."

Outfielder Darin Mastroianni, who is on a rehab assignment with Class A Advanced Fort Myers, is expected to join Willingham with Rochester on Tuesday. Mastroianni, who had surgery on his left ankle on May 22, is also nearing a return with the Twins, but there's still no official target date.

Perkins pleased with MLB's action on PEDs

Duquette, Justice on suspensions to A-Rod, 12 others

KANSAS CITY -- As the Twins union representative, closer Glen Perkins didn't mince his words regarding the 13 players suspended on Monday as part of Major League Baseball's investigation into the Biogenesis clinic in Florida.

Perkins applauded the system for suspending those associated with the clinic, and said he hopes it deters others from using performance-enhancing drugs. He added that his teammates held a similar view, as they were happy to see baseball take action.

MLB suspensions
A-Rod gets ban through '14, 12 get 50 games
A-Rod to appeal suspension through 2014
Across game, eagerness to move forward
50-game suspensions: Cruz | Peralta | E. Cabrera
Major bans span across sports, history
Justice: Players support protecting integrity
Bauman: Suspensions most painful part
Gio pleased to have name cleared
Braun suspended for rest of '13
Commissioner Selig's statement
Releases: Suspensions | A-Rod disciplined
Drug Policy in Baseball
Duquette, Justice on suspensions
A-Rod on suspension, appeal
MLB broadcasters react
More video

"I think that no one is disappointed in that," Perkins said. "It's the goal of the drug agreement to bring justice to guys who cheated. It's gratifying, I guess, to see guys can't get away with it."

MLB on Monday suspended 13 players as a result of the league's Biogenesis investigation. Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez received the stiffest penalty -- a 211-game ban without pay through the end of the 2014 regular season. Rodriguez, 38, has appealed the suspension, which is to begin on Thursday. His case will be heard by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz. Rodriguez's discipline, MLB said in its written announcement, is based on his use and possession of numerous forms of prohibited performance-enhancing substances, including testosterone and human growth hormone, over the course of multiple years. Rodriguez's discipline under the basic agreement is for attempting to cover up his violations of the program by engaging in a course of conduct intended to "obstruct and frustrate" the investigation.

The other players who were handed 50-game suspensions include Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz, Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta, Mariners catcher Jesus Montero, Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera, Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli, Phillies reliever Antonio Bastardo and recently demoted Mets utilityman Jordany Valdespin. Minor Leaguers Fernando Martinez, Jordan Norberto, Fautino de los Santos, Cesar Puello and Sergio Escalona were also suspended.

RULES FOR SUSPENDED PLAYERS
What they can't do:
Cannot receive pay
Cannot participate in Arizona Fall League
Cannot participate in Postseason games
Cannot be elected or selected to the All-Star Game (if player is suspended during the offseason, Spring Training, or championship season prior to the All-Star Game)
What they can do:
Can participate in Spring Training and extended spring training
Can participate in affiliated Winter League games
Can work out with the club
Can participate in batting practice before the gates open before a game
Can consent to an assignment to a Minor League affiliate for a period of time prescribed under Section 7.H.2 of the Joint Drug Program

Perkins noted the Twins have played against many of the players suspended, including Rodriguez who faced the Twins three times in the postseason in 2004, '09 and '10. Rodriguez hit .390 in those games with the Yankees winning nine of those 10 games.

"Pretty much everybody on that list we've seen," Perkins said. "So it's frustrating that those guys cheated and won games for their team when they weren't playing by the rules."

The Twins didn't have any current or former players on the list, which was at least a sigh of relief for the organization. Former Twins third baseman Danny Valencia was linked to the clinic, according to reports, but ultimately wasn't suspended.

"Any time things like that go down, you never want to be part of a bad situation like that," Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said. "It's unfortunate for baseball, but it's good it's come to a conclusion. The speculation is over and the suspensions have been made, and everybody can move on."

Perkins said a teammate who was suspended for performance-enhancing drugs would have a tough time gaining trust upon returning to the clubhouse. He added that there's still no way to know just how clean the game is, but that this was a step in the right direction.

"I can't really speculate on that," Perkins said. "There's no way to know. These guys had obviously been taking things for a while and getting away with it. So there's no way to know, but it's cleaner today than yesterday."

Florimon to gauge injured wrist during BP

KC@MIN: Florimon's homer gets the Twins on the board

KANSAS CITY -- Twins shortstop Pedro Florimon was held out of the lineup for a third straight game with inflammation in his left wrist on Monday against the Royals. Doug Bernier started in his place and batted ninth.

Florimon took infield before the game and said the plan is to take batting practice before Tuesday's game before being reevaluated to determine when he'll return.

"It feels better," said Florimon, who injured his wrist while taking batting practice before Saturday's game. "Today, I'm going to take some ground balls and tomorrow I'm going to batting practice and we'll see how it feels."

Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony added that he doesn't believe Florimon will need to be placed on the 15-day disabled list.

"It's better today," Antony said. "He's day to day. The doctor examined him and said it was just a little tendon irritation in his left wrist, but that he's ready to go in a day or two. It's up to him. Right now, he's not a DL candidate so we'll see how he responds."