MILWAUKEE -- Ryan Doumit, who suffered a right calf strain on Wednesday, took early batting practice on Friday, and was available for pinch-hit duty against the Brewers, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.

Doumit was originally set to be placed on the 15-day disabled list with the injury, but was able to avoid it, as he received favorable results from an MRI exam taken on his calf.

"He was on the field hitting early and he did fine," Gardenhire said. "He's champing at the bit. He's available to pinch-hit. As long as he doesn't fly out of the box, he'll be fine. His leg feels really good. He wants to take some swings."

Doumit doesn't have the luxury of making his return as a designated hitter this weekend, as the Twins are playing without one in a National League park during this Interleague series.

Gardenhire said he originally planned to give either Joe Mauer or Justin Morneau the day off on Friday to let Drew Butera catch left-hander Scott Diamond, but both wanted to be in the lineup.

"I thought I'd catch Drew Butera because he's caught Diamond, but Interleague Play makes it different," Gardenhire said. "Mauer wants to catch. I was out there early and I asked him if he wanted a day off, but he said he wanted to play. So that's good enough for me. And Mornie, same thing."

Pavano returns to Twins after shoulder work

MILWAUKEE -- Right-hander Carl Pavano returned to the Twins on Friday after spending time back in Minneapolis to work on strengthening his right shoulder.

Pavano, who is battling a strain in the front of his throwing shoulder, had deep tissue work done and said he's feeling better. Pavano is slated to start against the Brewers on Saturday.

"I was just working with a guy in Minneapolis that does some tissue work," Pavano said. "He works with the Vikings and with some of us, too. It was just a way to get some consistent work while we try to push forward with this. There's no huge revelation. It'll just take time, so I have to stay on top of it."

Pavano has suffered from a loss of velocity this season, but did see an improvement in that area in his last start on Monday, when he allowed four runs over six innings against the Indians.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he's pleased with the progress that Pavano is making, and said he remains hopeful Pavano won't need a cortisone shot, as they initially thought.

"He's doing fine," Gardenhire said. "He says he feels great. He feels good enough going to this therapist who does soft-tissue [work]. He's talked about not even dealing with a cortisone shot. He's got back some of that extension in his arm so he can reach back a little bit."

Pavano said he had MRI exam results sent to Dr. David Altchek in New York for a second opinion. But that Altchek agreed with Twins team doctor John Steubs' assessment that Pavano can pitch through the injury. Altchek also told Pavano that he doesn't need a cortisone shot if his shoulder continues to make progress.

"He said, 'If you're at the point where it's getting better, even at a slow pace -- and we all like things to happen quicker than we do -- keep going forward with that,'" Pavano said. "Maybe down the line I'll take it or maybe I won't. So we'll give it time and as long as it's not getting worse and makes improvements."

Span back in lineup after hamstring soreness

MILWAUKEE -- After missing three games with a sore right hamstring, Denard Span was back in the lineup against the Brewers on Friday, starting in center field and batting leadoff.

Span was initially scheduled to return on Wednesday, but was a late scratch because the Twins wanted to be cautious with his hamstring.

Span tested it out before Friday's game, and told Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was ready to go.

"He ran around," Gardenhire said. "He was chasing balls all over. So he said he was feeling good and is back in there. It's a good thing."