Mauer hopes to return Saturday

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Joe Mauer

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Twins catcher Joe Mauer, out since Sunday because of a bruised right thumb, could return to the starting lineup Saturday.

On Friday, he grabbed a bat for the first time in several and took several swings.

"That felt good, just to get a bat back in my hands," Mauer said, "I'm going to try to get out there [Saturday]."

With Mauer out, the Twins still were able to take two of three games at Kansas City earlier in the week.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said before Friday's game that one reason Chris Parmelee was called up from Class AAA Rochester was concern about Mauer's thumb. Gardenhire then stopped himself in mid-sentence.

"Actually, Joe is feeling pretty good," Gardenhire said. "I think he's ready to go, even pinch hit [Friday]."

Mauer entered Friday batting .298 but was batting .354 over his past 17 games.

Span out

Center fielder Denard Span had an appointment with the I.V. bag Friday after arriving at the park with the flu.

"He did some drills, ran some balls down, bunted some and went back in and said he wasn't feeling worth a flip," Gardenhire said.

Ben Revere took over in center on Friday, with Darin Mastroianni starting in right against Cubs lefthander Travis Wood.

Parmelee makes changes

There was no time for Parmelee to pout when he demoted to Class AAA Rochester on May 15.

Parmelee was hitting .179 with no homers and three RBI when he was sent down.

"Right when I got there I was like, 'All right, it happened and it is time to go to work and get back up,' '' he said.

Well, he's back after batting .375 with four homers in 15 games. And he was in the starting lineup Friday at first base. He worked on his mechanics with Rochester hitting coach Tom Brunansky and started tearing up the International League while waiting for his next chance.

"It's all a mental thing," he said. "I was pressing up here early in the season, trying to do too much, and you create some bad habits. It was nice to get down there and work with Bruno and get some kinks out. Mainly, just clear the head and have some fun again."

The challenge for Gardenhire will be to get Parmelee at-bats, especially with Mauer and Justin Morneau able to play first base.

Draft news

The Twins announced the signings of second-round pick Mason Melotakis, a lefthander from Northwestern State, and fourth-round pick Zack Jones, a righthander from San Jose State. Both will head to Fort Myers, Fla., for minicamp before starting the season with Elizabethton (Tenn.) of the Appalachian League.

Both players received signing bonuses close in line with what the league has recommended for their spots in the draft -- $750,000 for Melotakis ($818,500 is recommended) and $356,700 for Jones, right at the recommendation.

By the way, Jones prefers his first name to be spelled Zack. It's supposed to be Zach (short for Zachary), but he doesn't like the way it looks.

Etc.

A moment of silence was held before the game for local sports personality Dark Star, who died late last week at age 66. The Twins were on the road when it happened, and Friday was their first game back.

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