ARLINGTON, TEXAS - After taking another big stride toward returning from the disabled list Wednesday, Joe Mauer said some words every Twins fan should be happy to hear: "I'd like to get back in there Friday."
But as Mauer said, he wanted to play Wednesday, "so it's kind of the same thing."
Mauer, who has been on the DL since May 5 because of a strained left quadriceps muscle, still doesn't want to give a firm date for his return. He just doesn't know. He has caught bullpen sessions the past two days, he's been running almost full speed, and he launched one pitch into the upper deck in right field during batting practice Wednesday.
But he still feels some tightness in the leg when he runs. He'll take today off, resting from his vigorous rehab schedule, and see a doctor again Friday. Perhaps with a 48-hour break the tightness will disappear, and the Twins will clear him to play this weekend against Toronto.
"I try not to put a timetable on it until he goes out there and goes full bore," said manager Ron Gardenhire, whose team is 7-10 with Mauer on the DL. "He says he feels like he's getting pretty close. What series? When? This weekend? Early next week? We just have to let Joe let us know."
It's an open date for the Twins today, but the medical staff will be busy, and more roster moves are coming.
Glen Perkins (shoulder) and Jason Bartlett (neck) will have magnetic resonance imaging exams, and Dennys Reyes (shoulder) will have his recent MRI results viewed again.
"MRIs-R-Us," Gardenhire called it.
Gardenhire expects Reyes to go on the 15-day disabled list, and he said a pitcher will be promoted. Jason Miller is a candidate, but he would need to be added to the 40-man roster. Jose Mijares, another lefthander who was just promoted from Class AA New Britain to Class AAA Rochester, is already on the 40-man but probably not ready.
Bartlett is a growing concern. With Rochester hitting machine Matt Tolbert out because of a strained oblique muscle, Alexi Casilla probably would rejoin the Twins if Bartlett is placed on the DL.
"Rochester might be down to six players before it's all over," Gardenhire said.
No rotation shuffle
Once again, the Twins won't use the off day to skip a pitcher and keep Johan Santana on regular rest.
Ramon Ortiz has an 11.74 ERA for May, but pitching coach Rick Anderson liked his bullpen session Tuesday, as Ortiz shortened his stride, helping him keep the ball down.
"He wants the ball," Gardenhire said. "If you were to tell him, 'Hey, we're going to skip you,' that would be tough. We'd more like to see him go out there and have a good ballgame. That's what this ballclub needs."
Rangers a fit for Hunter?
During last year's playoffs, Torii Hunter told the Star Tribune, "I love the Twins, but if I was a free agent, the first place I would try to sign would be with Ron Washington's team."
Washington was soon hired as manager of the Rangers, who play 45 minutes from Hunter's new home in Prosper, Texas.
"I've thought about playing here because of my family," Hunter said Wednesday. "But my main goal, no matter what I say -- not being politically correct -- I want to be with the Twins. I want to end my career here.
"But if that's not possible, this is one place I will look."
When Mauer comes off the DL, the Twins will have another roster dilemma. Gardenhire said they'll probably keep three catchers, so they might have to trim back to 11 pitchers.
The entire Twins team turned out at 10 a.m., to watch Santana receive his second Warren Spahn Award from the Oklahoma Sports Museum. The award is given annually to baseball's top lefthander.