Twins' Punto back in lineup

Updated: May 28, 2010, 7:11 PM ET
Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins third baseman Nick Punto is back in the lineup for Friday night's game against Texas after missing much of the past four games with a strained left ring finger.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, who is a fan of Punto's defense, made the decision after seeing Punto perform in early batting practice.

Punto injured the finger that required a cortisone shot in Saturday's extra-inning victory over Milwaukee. He didn't play in the series finale against the Brewers and was limited to two pinch-running appearances in Minnesota's series against the Yankees.

Punto is batting .218 this season, but he has not made an error in 29 games at third base.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press