CLE@MIN: Mastroianni recovers to rob Raburn of a hit

MINNEAPOLIS -- Darin Mastroianni was thrown right into the fire on Thursday, starting in right field and batting leadoff against the A's a day after his contract was purchased from Triple-A Rochester. 

He went 0-for-4 with a strikeout in his season debut.

Mastroianni was originally reassigned to Minor League camp in Spring Training on March 16, and he fared well in four games with Rochester to open the season. He was hitting .450 (9-for-20) with two doubles and two RBIs before getting called up when Oswaldo Arcia went on the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday with a strained right wrist.

"We hope it can continue," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "When he went down [on March 16], he was still having troubles with his ankle and throwing the ball in the outfield. He wasn't quite there yet. But we sent him to Minor League camp, and he got a lot of at-bats and then started off pretty decent."

Mastroianni, 28, played in 30 games with the Twins last year, hitting .185 with five RBIs and two stolen bases. He was limited by a left ankle injury throughout last season, as he originally injured it in Spring Training on a foul tip before having surgery to repair a bone chip in his ankle in May. He then underwent a second surgery on Oct. 17 to remove the fixation hardware initially placed in his ankle.

But Gardenhire said Mastroianni is healthy now, and he's hopeful he can utilize his speed in the outfield and on the bases.

"He told me he feels great," Gardenhire said. "I talked to [Rochester manager] Gene Glynn this morning, and he said he's moving around really good and not favoring his ankle or anything. So that's where we wanted to get him to. We didn't think it'd be this quick, but we need help and he's a guy we like."

Willingham progressing, but remains sidelined

MIN@CLE: Willingham shaken up after being hit on hand

MINNEAPOLIS -- Josh Willingham was held out of the lineup for a third straight game on Thursday with a bruised left wrist sustained on Sunday, when he was hit by a pitch from Indians righty Justin Masterson.

Willingham took batting practice in the cages for a second straight day, and he is expected to progress to taking batting practice on the field before Friday's game against the Royals.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he's waiting for the swelling in Willingham's wrist to completely subside before he puts him back in the lineup.

"He's not ready yet," Gardenhire said. "He's swinging more in the cage and said he's definitely feeling better. Tomorrow he'll be out taking full BP. The big thing is they said they have to get the swelling down, so right now we're just trying to get the swelling out of there more than anything else."

Once healthy, Buxton likely to begin in extended spring

MIN@TOR: Buxton hits two-run homer for early lead

MINNNEAPOLIS -- Top prospect Byron Buxton, who sprained his left wrist in a Minor League Spring Training game on March 16, is likely out until late April and is expected to start the season in extended spring camp before heading to Double-A New Britain.

Buxton, ranked as the No. 1 overall prospect by MLB.com, still has not been cleared to swing a bat yet, but he is expected to start baseball activities by early next week at the club's Spring Training complex in Fort Myers, Fla. He originally injured his wrist trying to make a diving catch in the outfield.

The Twins are being cautious with Buxton, as they don't want the injury to linger throughout the season. So it remains unlikely he'll be ready to play at New Britain before May 1.

"He'll be able to start doing some stuff later this week or early next week, but it'll take some time," Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said. "They're not going to push him. We know that. So there's no set timetable. A lot of it will be how he feels and reacts once we ease back into things."