Twins' Punto back in lineup

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.