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He’s sleeping better and regaining strength. Now Kyle Gibson will see if it will help his pitching.

Gibson will take the ball Thursday when the Twins and Nationals — weather permitting — complete a three-game series at Target Field. It will be Gibson’s first start since Aug. 30 in Detroit, when he gave up four runs over five innings on 10 hits. After that game, Gibson met with Rocco Baldelli in the manager’s office and the decision was made for him to focus on dealing with ulcerative colitis, which caused inflammation in his intestines and made it difficult for him to sleep at night.

He has thrown two bullpen sessions since then and feels much better as he prepares to return to the mound.

“Definitely better,” Gibson said. “The last two weeks have progressed well. I wouldn’t say that I’m quite 100 percent, but I’m definitely on the road back and feel much better than I have the last month. So I’ve been sleeping better, my stomach has been way more consistent, and it’s been refreshing, really. Anytime you’re dealing with it for the three or four months that I did, a little bit of a consistent going in the right direction, I’m able to get pretty excited about it. I’m probably maybe being a little bit optimistic about it, but it’s a good feeling when you feel things going in the right direction.”

Gibson, who battled E. coli during the offseason, has been dealing with ulcerative colitis for most of the season, consulting with doctors at the Cleveland Clinic about the best way to treat the condition. He went on the injured list when it was decided he would take a powerful corticosteroid (an anti-inflammation drug) that comes with some side effects.

But he’s feeling better and wants to see how it translates on the field. Gibson had a 7.18 ERA over his past five starts before going on the IL.

“I’m probably not quite where I want to be [from] where I was at the beginning of the season,” Gibson said. “But, yeah, I think because I feel better, I’m good enough to go back out there and be able to compete better and give the team a chance to win.”

Baldelli said he has not managed Gibson differently because of the condition.

“It is tough to tell what’s directly related to the rigors of a long season,” he said, “and what’s related to the stomach issue that he has been dealing with.”

Restaurant review

Nationals second baseman Brian Dozier has been making the rounds since returning to the Twin Cities.

He took a bunch of teammates out to dinner at Butcher & the Boar in Minneapolis on Monday night. After Tuesday’s game, he took more teammates out to Seven Steakhouse Sushi & Rooftop down the street from Target Field. He went to Uptown on Tuesday morning for oatmeal pancakes, he had lunch with Gibson on Wednesday at Red Cow and is headed for Moose and Sadie’s for breakfast Thursday.

“I gotta hit all my spots,” Dozier said. “It’s been good.”

On Tuesday, Dozier played at Target Field for the first time since he was traded to the Dodgers during the 2018 season. The Twins gave him a video tribute before the game and he tipped his helmet to fans before his first at-bat Wednesday.

“It feels good. It feels great,” said Dozier, who played seven seasons with the Twins and was an All-Star in 2015. “A lot of different emotions. A lot of happy ones. I had a chance to see all the guys [Tuesday] and talk to them, catch up a little bit. It was good. It was fun.”