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Adam Dunn could return Saturday

Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski scores single by Alexei Ramirez sixth inning Friday. | Jim Mone~AP

Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski scores on a single by Alexei Ramirez in the sixth inning on Friday. | Jim Mone~AP

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The facts: 12:10 p.m., Ch. 9, 670-AM, 97.5-FM.

The pitchers: Francisco Liriano (5-11, 5.37 ERA) vs. Samuel Deduno (6-3, 3.55).

Updated: October 16, 2012 6:14AM

MINNEAPOLIS — Adam Dunn took batting practice Friday and hopes to be in the lineup Saturday.

Dunn, who missed his seventh consecutive start, said his strained right oblique is much improved. He said Friday was the best it has felt since he reinjured it last week.

“Hopefully I’m in there [Saturday],’’ Dunn said.

“It’s to the point now where I get it. It’s not going to be 100 percent. I don’t want it to be one bad swing and the season is over. That’s my big concern.’’

Hitting for the first time in a week, Dunn belted one batting-practice pitch into the top deck in right-center field. He also took controlled, non-aggressive swings. After BP, he took ground balls at first base.

Dunn said once he gets on the field, there will be no fear of re-injuring the oblique.

“Once I’m in there playing, I’m not changing anything,’’ he said. “Not going to throttle back. Whatever happens, happens.’’

Manager Robin Ventura is cautiously optimistic about the team’s leading home-run (38) and RBI (88) guy.

“Once you get in a game, guys throwing changeups and you try to hold up and swing, it becomes different,’’ Ventura said.

Dunn isn’t sure how many at-bats it will take for him to get his timing back. The longer he waits, the bigger issue that becomes.

“I don’t know because I’ve never missed a significant amount of time,’’ he said.

Quintana to face Tigers

The Sox altered their rotation for the next four games, moving Jose Quintana from Saturday to Monday afternoon to face the Detroit Tigers.

The Sox are breaking up their nine-game road trip with a makeup game of Thursday’s rainout at U.S. Cellular Field on Monday.

Francisco Liriano moves back into the rotation Saturday to face the Twins, his former team. Jake Peavy stays on turn for Sunday’s start. Gavin Floyd, the original choice for Monday, will pitch Tuesday in Kansas City.

The move was made in part to give Quintana, a rookie who’s taking on the heaviest workload of his career, two extra days of rest. Floyd, who came off the disabled list Wednesday, gets an extra day.

“It’s really for Q and Gavin,’’ pitching coach Don Cooper said. “Those are the two guys affected by extra days.

“Q pitched well against [the Tigers on Monday],’’ Cooper said. “Maybe we get that again.’’

Wise front and center

Dewayne Wise’s move to center field is an indication he could play ahead of Alejandro De Aza when Dunn returns and Dayan Viciedo gets more time in left field than as a designated hitter. Wise was moved to center and De Aza to left on Monday.

“It’s between both him and De Aza,’’ Ventura said. “If something is up with one, you can use the other. De Aza is probably a better left fielder, and he’s a better leadoff hitter. It just depends on what you’re looking for.’’

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