Plan for Mauer: Class A to majors

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 13, 2011 - 6:30 AM

Joe Mauer won't be heading to Class AAA Rochester on his rehab from bilateral leg weakness, but the Twins plan to keep him in Fort Myers, Fla., at least until Wednesday.

That means the soonest Mauer would come off the disabled list is Thursday for the third game of a three-game series against the White Sox.

Mauer caught games for Class A Fort Myers on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday, when he went 1-for-4 with a double and spent seven innings behind the plate.

He is scheduled to catch again Monday, then either serve as designated hitter or catch again Tuesday. On Wednesday, Mauer will bat in a simulated game against Joe Nathan, who is on the DL because of a strained right flexor muscle.

"It's a good situation there [for Mauer]," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He's got all the things he needs down there, kind of similar to here [at Target Field], rather than being on the road [with Rochester in Toledo, Ohio] -- that's important."

Butera or Rivera?

When Mauer returns, the Twins will have to pick a backup catcher between Drew Butera and Rene Rivera, and Gardenhire said it will "absolutely" be a tough decision.

Rivera has caught back-to-back gems by Scott Baker and Francisco Liriano and is batting .193 with a .590 OPS (on-base-plus-slugging percentage). Butera is considered one of the best defensive catchers in baseball but is batting .174 with a .468 OPS.

"You want tough decisions," Gardenhire said. "They've done their parts and they continue to, but it's not going to be easy no matter which way we go."

Injury updates

• Justin Morneau (sore left wrist) remains day-to-day. Dr. Thomas Vareka, a hand specialist, planned to review Morneau's recent MRI results.

• Jason Kubel (sprained left foot) is eligible to return from the DL on Wednesday and has been swinging in the cage but still feels soreness when he runs. He and Morneau were both contemplating cortisone shots.

• Jim Thome (strained back/quadriceps) is heading to Fort Myers to continue his rehab.

• Denard Span is eligible to come off the DL on Tuesday but he still is having concussion symptoms.

• Tsuyoshi Nishioka (broken leg) played shortstop and went 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI Sunday for Class AAA Rochester.

• Glen Perkins (strained oblique) pitched a scoreless inning Saturday for Rochester and is scheduled to pitch two more innings Tuesday in Toledo, Ohio.

• Kevin Slowey (strained abdomen) has progressed to the point where he's throwing off the mound.

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