MINNEAPOLIS -- Lefty specialist Joe Thatcher took an important step in his recovery from a sprained left ankle on Thursday afternoon, throwing a 20-pitch simulated game at Target Field.
Thatcher, who faced hitters in an indoor cage because it was raining, plans to take part in fielding practice on Friday and hopes to venture out on a rehab assignment shortly thereafter. He could get some game action with Double-A Arkansas, which is currently in the playoffs.
Thatcher, 32, was placed on the disabled list four and a half weeks ago, with an injury that carries an expected four- to six-week recovery timetable.
The only lefties in the bullpen are two long relievers, Wade LeBlanc and Michael Roth.
"I'll feel it a little bit the rest of the year," Thatcher said of the ankle. "But as long as I feel like I'm throwing the ball good, that's all that matters."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.