MIN@DET: Swarzak hurls two hitless relief innings

MIAMI -- Fort Lauderdale native Anthony Swarzak was happy to see several familiar faces during his first trip to South Florida as a Major Leaguer.

However, one supporter stood out.

In attendance at Marlins Park this week to see Swarzak is Pat McQuaid, the 27-year-old right-hander's former coach at Fort Lauderdale's Nova High School.

"I can't tell you how much Pat McQuaid has done for me and my career and just me becoming a man in general," Swarzak said. "I'm not the only one. Every kid that comes through that program, he teaches them how to be a man one way or another."

While playing in front of his former high school coach at Marlins Park is special to Swarzak, McQuaid has already seen his former pitcher play in person this season.

McQuaid traveled to Minneapolis when Swarzak's Twins hosted fellow Nova High graduate Michael Morse's Nationals on June 8-9.

"It was cool having me and Michael on the field at the same time and being able to see coach," Swarzak said. "It was fun. I know his wife really enjoyed it, too. It's great for the program, and I think that it's great for South Florida baseball in general."

Almost every Minnesota opponent has gotten a look at the right-hander, who led all MLB relievers with 48 2/3 innings pitched before Wednesday.

He has taken advantage of his high inning count and is on pace to post career-best numbers with a 2.77 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP.

"They've been asking me to pitch in a multiple-inning kind of role, and I've embraced it," Swarzak said. "I just make sure I'm ready to go every night and try to do the best I can regardless, and it's been working out."

Swarzak has been just one of several stellar arms in the Twins' bullpen, which led the American League and ranked second in the Majors with a 2.88 ERA before Wednesday.

"We absolutely take pride in that," Swarzak said. "We want to continue to get better. Nobody's going to sit back and relax and just reap all the benefits. I think that everybody's working to get better every single day. All eight of us."

Ramirez has another setback after rehab game

MIN@DET: Ramirez collides with Willingham in center

MIAMI -- Wilkin Ramirez had another setback in his attempt to return from a concussion sustained in a collision with Josh Willingham on May 26.

Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said Ramirez was feeling better on Tuesday after experiencing dizziness while playing in a game with Class A Advanced Fort Myers on Saturday, but the 27-year-old did not feel as well on Wednesday.

"We've got to keep an eye on him," Antony said. "He was much better [Tuesday]. [Wednesday], he came in and he was OK. Not great. So, he's still not ready to resume baseball activities. So we're going to have to just keep an eye on him the next few days and decide what the next step is."

Ramirez began a rehab assignment with Class A Advanced Fort Myers on June 20, but left Saturday's game after experiencing dizziness while diving for a fly ball. He has missed 27 games since he was placed on the seven-day disabled list on May 26 with concussion-like symptoms.

The outfielder is batting .244 with five RBIs, three runs scored and 14 total bases in 45 at-bats with Minnesota.

Hicks begins rehab assignment at Triple-A

SEA@MIN: Hicks scores Dozier with a double to right

MIAMI -- The Twins have no set timetable for the return of Aaron Hicks, who began his rehab assignment on Tuesday night with Triple-A Rochester.

Hicks, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list on June 10 with a hamstring strain, finished 3-for-4 with a double and two singles for the Red Wings.

"He needs to show that he's healthy and be able to run balls down and do what he needs to do without any side effects or ill effects," assistant general manager Rob Antony said. "He could be there 20 days."

When Hicks exited the latter half of a June 9 doubleheader against the Nationals with the injury, he was batting .179 with six home runs and 19 RBIs in 190 at-bats.

"When the general manager says he's ready to come back up here, that's when we'll have him back up here," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We're just going to let him do his thing and play and get some swings."

In addition to collecting three hits, Hicks experienced no discomfort in his hamstring during the first game of his rehab assignment.

While Hicks served as Rochester's designated hitter on Tuesday night, Gardenhire expects him to begin playing the outfield soon.

He's ready to go," Gardenhire said. "He's running. He's doing everything just fine. They'll get him back out there."

Gardenhire being cautious with Doumit

Must C Close: Doumit uses nifty footwork to score

MIAMI -- Twins backup catcher Ryan Doumit says he's good to go despite nursing a sore ankle, but manager Ron Gardenhire wants to take extra precaution.

The 32-year-old backstop twisted his ankle in the ninth inning of Sunday's 5-3 win against the Indians at Progressive Field in Cleveland.

Doumit flew out to left field while pinch-hitting for reliever Caleb Thielbar in the ninth inning of Tuesday's 4-2 loss to the Marlins. However, Gardenhire is wary of letting Doumit play in the field.

"He's OK," Gardenhire said. "I wouldn't want to put him behind the plate, not to start a game. If there's an emergency situation, and he says he can go do it, I've got no problem with that.

"But it's not a perfect scenario right now squatting and bending on that ankle. I think, as you saw him pinch-hit last night and take off running, he wasn't running great. He was limping. He's a tough guy. He's going to tell you he can go, and I respect that."

Resting Doumit required All-Star Joe Mauer to start behind the plate for Minnesota in Wednesday's afternoon game in Miami despite playing in Tuesday night's game.

Gardenhire expressed some concern Tuesday about potentially sticking Mauer behind the plate during Wednesday's day game following a night game.

The Twins have taken steps to help reduce the wear and tear on Mauer while also keeping him in the lineup, playing him at first base and designated hitter in addition to his catching duties. However, Doumit's injury takes away that option.

"He was fine. He'll be fine," Gardenhire said of Mauer. "I don't expect any different from him. He'll always tell you he can catch, whatever you need [him] to do. I just know what you have to do with catchers. You have to protect them.

"Because Joe's such a good hitter and on the bases more than most other catchers, there's a big difference in this guy. It's nice to be able to use him as a DH every once in a while."

Gardenhire said the decision to hold Doumit back has been motivated partly by the brief nature of Minnesota's series against Miami.

"It's only two games here," Gardenhire said. "A night and a day game. We can get through that."

But with no more days off until the All-Star break begins on July 15, Gardenhire hopes to get Doumit behind the plate during the Twins' four-game series against the Royals at Target Field this weekend.

"You can't go with just beating [up] Joe," Gardenhire said. "Doumit's got to be able to do this. He's a tough guy. He's going to say he can do it. I know that. He's told me already, 'I can do whatever you need.'

"But I also know that his ankle's not right. It's not perfect. Trying to bend and squat on a sprained ankle is not an easy thing. I think you can all imagine that. There's concern here, but everybody tells me he's OK."