Mauer to try three innings at catcher Thursday

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 2, 2011 - 8:26 AM
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Twins catcher Joe Mauer

Photo: Charles Rex Arbogast, Associated Press

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DETROIT - On Thursday, Joe Mauer is scheduled to catch his first game since April 12.

The plans have Mauer catching three innings in an extended spring training game in Fort Myers, Fla.

"Then, we'll go from there," Twins assistant trainer Dave Pruemer said.

Depending on how Mauer's body responds, the Twins will gradually increase his workload until he's ready to begin a minor-league rehab assignment.

The plan isn't about getting him ready to catch one game, it's about preparing him to catch five or six days per week. Mauer has been on the disabled list, recovering from leg weakness, a viral infection and a right shoulder injury.

"He has to be healthy, and that's being able to go about his business like he normally would," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Then, once he's healthy, and he's played in enough games down there where everything's going good, then we bring him back up here."

Revere returns

Jason Kubel has a sprained left foot, and Jim Thome strained his left quadriceps muscle in Wednesday's loss, so the Twins plan to place one of them on the disabled list Thursday. Ben Revere is on his way back from Class AAA Rochester to fill the roster spot.

Thome said he injured himself on a swing and could feel it when he reached base after his fourth-inning walk. He said he'll know a lot more about the injury Thursday. Kubel, who sprained his foot Monday, tried going through some light exercises Wednesday and still felt some pain.

"Somebody's gotta go on the DL," Gardenhire said. "I can't play two players down and can't play day-to-day with everybody."

Revere was batting .303 for Rochester and batted .242 in 15 games for the Twins last month.

Thome, who has 593 career home runs, was on the DL from May 3-23 because of a strained back muscle. If the Twins place Kubel on the DL, he'll be the 12th Twin to land on that list this year.

Protecting catchers

The season-ending injury Giants catcher Buster Posey suffered on a home-plate collision has opened an interesting conversation. A's General Manager Billy Beane has instructed catcher Kurt Suzuki to avoid those collisions.

Gardenhire was Beane's teammate with the Twins' Class AAA Portland affiliate in 1987, but respectfully disagreed.

"I don't think you can tell an athlete to back away from a play at home plate if it's winning or losing the ballgame," Gardenhire said. "Tell him, 'I don't want you to take the hit. Let the ball go to the backstop?' Ain't going to happen."

Etc.

• Tsuyoshi Nishioka (broken left fibula) played seven innings in an extended spring game Wednesday and plans to play seven more Thursday. He's close to starting a minor-league rehab assignment.

• Glen Perkins (strained oblique) threw lightly off the mound, taking another step in his rehab.

• The Twins remain hopeful Francisco Liriano (left shoulder inflammation) will be ready to start Tuesday in Cleveland.

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