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Former MVP Mauer near return

MINNEAPOLIS — Former MVP C Joe Mauer could return to the Twins this week.

The four-time All-Star and three-time American League batting champion was catching for Class A Fort Myers on Sunday and was set to do the same today and possibly Tuesday, too.

Mauer played catcher three straight games last week before a break Saturday.

Manager Ron Gardenhire said the Twins want Mauer to take live batting practice Wednesday against RH reliever Joe Nathan, who was sent to Florida on a rehabilitation assignment for his strained right elbow.

Gardenhire had said he wanted Mauer to face Triple-A pitching before coming up.

"He can count on one hand how many fastballs he's seen since he's been playing down there (with Fort Myers), and that's kind of one of those reasons you might want to send him to Triple A," Gardenhire said. "He might see some fastballs down there. There are some veteran guys who might know how to mix it up there. Those kids, they'll just be winging breaking balls all over the place."

Mauer could rejoin the team Thursday or Friday, but Gardenhire was noncommittal.

The Twins also plan to send DH Jim Thome to Fort Myers today to start a rehab stint for his strained left quadriceps muscle.

ALSO MENDING: 3B Ryan Zimmerman finished a rehab assignment at Triple-A Syracuse and is expected to rejoin the Nationals on Tuesday. The All-Star has been out since April 9 with an abdominal injury that he had surgically repaired May 3.

COLON TO DL: The Yankees placed RHP Bartolo Colon on the disabled list as expected with a strained right hamstring, the latest blow to an already ailing starting rotation. Colon pulled up lame while covering first base on a grounder in a 4-0 win over the Indians on Saturday. Colon, 38, is 5-3 with a 3.10 ERA, helping solidify a rotation that has lost RHP Phil Hughes to a shoulder injury for most of the season.

ASTROS: RF Hunter Pence was out of the lineup against the Braves with tightness in his lower back.

A'S: LHP Brett Anderson, who went on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday, will meet with noted orthopedist Dr. James Andrews today for a second opinion after an MRI exam couldn't identify his injury.

CARDINALS: The contract of OF Andrew Brown was purchased from Triple-A Memphis, and OF Allen Craig went on the 15-day disabled list with a bruised right knee. … LF Matt Holliday, out since June 1 with tightness in his left quadriceps muscle, hopes to be activated Thursday.

CUBS: RH reliever Kerry Wood has a blister on his right index finger and could be headed to the disabled list for the 15th time in his career.

ORIOLES: The team intends to lighten the workload of prized rookie LHP Zach Britton in an effort to extend his availability into September. Manager Buck Showalter said he will move Britton, 23, back this week from Tuesday to either Friday or Saturday in Washington.

RANGERS: C/1B Mike Napoli went on the 15-day disabled list with a strained oblique muscle on his left side. … Manager Ron Washington pulled SS Elvis Andrus from the game against the Twins in the eighth after he made what seemed to be a lazy throw on a grounder. "I didn't like his attitude," Washington told the Dallas Morning News. … LHP Matt Harrison left his start in the seventh after being hit by a line drive above his pitching elbow, resulting in a bruised triceps muscle.

Former MVP Mauer near return 06/12/11 [Last modified: Sunday, June 12, 2011 9:08pm]
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