MINNEAPOLIS — Twins C Joe Mauer's deeply bruised left heel is feeling much better, but he wasn't in the starting lineup for Saturday's split doubleheader at Target Field.
Mauer did pinch-hit in the eighth inning of the nightcap, striking out against Orioles RH reliever Matt Albers.
Manager Ron Gardenhire said before the first game that Mauer is "getting real close" to returning to the lineup, but Gardenhire did not start the AL MVP in the second game because he is still not ready to run the bases at full speed.
"You can't just stick a guy out there because he's got some orthotics in his shoes," Gardenhire said. "He feels a lot better with those in there, but his foot's not well. He's definitely not totally healed. He's still got some soreness in there."
Mauer took batting practice before the first game and tested his foot by squatting in the catcher's position in the batting cage during the game. He hadn't played since hurting his foot while running out a grounder on April 30.
SS J.J. Hardy won't play this weekend. His left wrist is still sore, and Gardenhire said he's not ready to get on the field.
ASTROS: INF Chris Johnson was activated from the disabled list and optioned to Triple-A Round Rock. He had been out since April 20 with a strained right intercostal muscle.
A'S: LHP Josh Outman, out since having Tommy John surgery in June, threw a simulated game in Arizona.
BRAVES: RHP Jair Jurrjens still feels tightness in his strained left hamstring but said he believes he'll be ready to pitch Saturday, when he becomes eligible to be activated from the disabled list.
CUBS: RH reliever Esmailin Caridad was activated off the 15-day disabled list. He had been out since April 12 with a strained right forearm. Also, struggling LH reliever John Grabow was sent to Chicago for a precautionary MRI exam on his left knee, but no problem was found.
D'BACKS: OF Conor Jackson was activated off the disabled list, and OF Gerardo Parra was optioned to Triple-A Reno. Jackson went on the DL with a strained right hamstring on April 19.
DODGERS: LF Manny Ramirez was activated from the 15-day disabled list. He had been out since April 23 with a strained left calf.
GIANTS: C Bengie Molina left the game against the Mets with a tight left hamstring.
METS: 2B Luis Castillo left the game against the Giants during the eighth inning with a bruised left foot and is day to day.
NATIONALS: LHP John Lannan, who skipped his start with a sore pitching elbow, threw long toss and hopes to be ready to go Thursday.
RANGERS: LHP Derek Holland, whose rotation bid was derailed when he sprained his left knee during spring training, will be promoted from Triple-A Oklahoma City this week and start in place of LHP Matt Harrison, who will go on the disabled list with tendinitis in his pitching arm.
YANKEES: DH Nick Johnson went on the 15-day DL with a right wrist injury and may be out for several weeks. 2B Robinson Cano, who left Friday's game against the Red Sox after being hit on the left knee by a pitch, was in the lineup as DH. C Jorge Posada did not start for the fourth straight game, out with a strained right calf muscle. During the game, RH reliever Alfredo Aceves was forced out in the sixth with lower back soreness.