MINNEAPOLIS -- Catcher Joe Mauer missed his fourth straight game with a sprained right thumb on Friday, but could return on Saturday.

Mauer, who sprained his thumb while taking a swing last Sunday, took batting practice for the first time on Friday.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said there was even a chance that Mauer could be available as a pinch-hitter.

"His thumb is actually pretty good," Gardenhire said. "He's swinging on the field for the first time. We'll get him through today and see how he's doing. Maybe he'll pitch-hit. We'll probably get him in there [Saturday] if everything goes OK today."

Newly recalled Parmelee starts at first

MINNEAPOLIS -- Chris Parmelee was thrown right into the fire on Friday, starting at first base and batting sixth against the Cubs a day after he was recalled from Triple-A Rochester.

In his first go-around with the Twins, Parmelee struggled over 27 games, hitting .179 with no homers in 84 at-bats, before being optioned to Rochester on May 15.

But he took his demotion in stride and regained his hitting stroke, batting .375 with four homers in 15 games.

"I just went down there and, most importantly, tried to clear my head a little bit, work on some mechanics and get back to just seeing the ball and hitting it, and not trying to think too much about results," Parmelee said. "I think I was pressing a little bit too much when I was up here, so it was nice to go down and clear the head and just go back to seeing it and hitting it, just reacting."

Parmelee is expected to see time at both first base and in the outfield. He could also serve as a pinch-hitter when the Twins play without the designated hitter next week in Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.

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"He gives us some insurance with [Justin Morneau]," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It gives me chance to give Mornie a DH day here and there. He hit his way back up here.

He was scuffling for a little bit but got his confidence back and started swinging the bat. That's what you're supposed to do."

Span out again with flu-like symptoms

MINNEAPOLIS -- Flu-like symptoms kept Denard Span from starting Friday's game against the Cubs. It's the second consecutive game Span has missed. He sat out Wednesday's game in Kansas City for rest.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said Span told him earlier in the day he was sick, but he came to Target Field to see how he would respond to a workout. Span fielded fly balls and ran through drills.

"He went back in and wasn't feeling worth a flip," Gardenhire said. "He tried it out there and didn't feel good."

Gardenhire said Span spent time in the training room and would likely receive an IV. Span, who is hitting .286, has started 51 of Minnesota's first 56 games.

Ben Revere started Friday's game in center field in place of Span, the third time this season Revere has started there. Revere is hitting .307 through 23 games.

Darin Mastroianni started Friday in Revere's normal position in right field.

"We have some depth back there in the outfield," Gardenhire said. "It's nice to be able to have some people you can put out there."