SEATTLE - Twins catcher Joe Mauer on Tuesday will fly to Fort Myers, Fla., to continue his rehabilitation after dealing with bilateral leg weakness. He is expected to begin workouts at the Lee County Sports Complex on Wednesday.
"Joe has made good progress in the past couple of weeks and is ready to take the next step,'' Twins General Manager Bill Smith said in response to an e-mail question. "He will join our program in Fort Myers on Wednesday morning, and we will continue to evaluate his activities. We are all working with a common goal to get him back in our lineup as soon as possible.''
Mauer hasn't played since April 12 because of soreness. He said the leg weakness forced him to compensate and led to other problems, including a sore right shoulder. The viral infection he had last month didn't help, either, forcing him to miss rehab time and causing him to lose 10 to 15 pounds.
The Twins have not set a timetable as to when Mauer will be able to play in extended spring training games. For now, he will continue to work out at the facility and continue to build up strength.
Morneau checked out
First baseman Justin Morneau flew out from the Twin Cities on Monday and arrived in time to start against Seattle as the designated hitter.
The rest of the team flew to Seattle on Sunday, but Morneau remained in town to have his neck and shoulder checked out. He has been dealing with a sore neck and shoulder for several weeks and received a cortisone shot in the area on April 22. He was cleared to play, then caught the flight.
Here are updates on players on the 15-day disabled list.
• Outfielder Jason Repko (right quadriceps) has been assigned to Class AAA Rochester to begin a rehabilitation assignment.
• Designated hitter Jim Thome (left oblique) had four plate appearances during a simulated game on Monday and will play in an extended spring training game on Tuesday.
• Infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka (broken left fibula) began sprinting Monday with no problems and is getting closer to full baseball activities. "He's starting to turn the corner a little bit," trainer Dave Pruemer said.
• Lefthander Jose Mijares, placed on the DL on Sunday because of a left elbow strain, will have a MRI exam of his elbow as a precaution.
Blyleven's scout dies
Dick Wiencek, one of the scouts who signed Bert Blyleven and has ties to other Twins as well as numerous major leaguers, died Sunday in Southern California of complications following a heart attack. He was 85.
Blyleven, talking before Monday's game against Seattle, said he had a phone conversation with Wiencek about four months ago.
"He was a very nice man,'' Blyleven said.
Blyleven said Jesse Flores was the local scout who saw him as a youth, but Wiencek was the regional scout and his name also was on his first contract.
Wiencek is considered one of the most successful scouts ever. He helped sign players such as Blyleven, Jim Kaat, Mark McGwire and Graig Nettles. In 1976, he drafted and signed six players who wound up in the major leagues: Jack Morris, Steve Kemp, Dan Petry, Alan Trammell, Dave Stedman and Steve Baker.
Thinking of Harmon
Harmon Killebrew's No. 3 jersey hung in the back of the visitors dugout at Safeco Field on Monday, and the Twins plan to take it wherever they travel.
Manager Ron Gardenhire said he would love to visit Killebrew in Scottsdale, Ariz., this weekend when the Twins play the Arizona Diamondbacks but will respect the family's wishes.
"The family has requested privacy," Gardenhire said.
Killebrew, who has esophageal cancer, on Friday announced he was beginning hospice care.