Time running out on Mauer's chance to play again this season

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Joe Mauer

Photo: JERRY HOLT, Star Tribune file

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– Twins catcher Joe Mauer worked out at Target Field on Friday. He’s not up to doing baseball-related activities, which means he’s still days away from the Twins even thinking about his return to the lineup.

And even General Manager Terry Ryan admitted, “We’re running out of days. There’s only so many days left.”

Mauer hasn’t played since Aug. 19, when he suffered a concussion when he was hit in the facemask with a foul ball. So he’s missed more than a month of action and would have to ramp up his activates immediately if he wants to play during the Twins’ season-ending seven-game homestand that starts on Monday.

Ryan said sending Mauer to instructional games was doubtful. When asked if Mauer could be the designated hitter or even pinch hit, Ryan pointed out Mauer’s absence from baseball-related activates.

Indications are that Mauer will continue to work out at Target Field in hopes of trying to play before the season is over. But it’s beginning to look doubtful.

“Our main goal with Joe is to make sure he is 100 percent,” Ryan said.

Minor leaguer suspended

Twins minor league pitcher Dallas Gallant has been suspended for 50 games without pay for violating the minor league drug prevention program. Gallant tested positive for an amphetamine.

Gallant will be able to report to spring training and work out with teammates, but his suspension will begin once the minor league regular season begins.

“He made a mistake, a bad decision,” said Brad Steil, the Twins director of minor leagues. “We’re fully supporting everything the commissioner’s office is doing in regards to prevention and the drug treatment program.”

Gallant, 24, was a 23rd round pick in 2010 but missed the 2011 season due to Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery. He split time between rookie league Elizabethton and Class A Cedar Rapids, going 1-0 with a 5.51 ERA. The Twins like his arm and are trying to mold him into a reliever. In three minor league seasons Gallant has averaged 11.6 strikeouts per nine innings, but his walk rate of 4.8 is too high.

Plouffe out

Third baseman Trevor Plouffe was not in the starting lineup on Friday after aggravating a sore left wrist during Thursday’s game. But Plouffe said his wrist felt fine and planned to be available off the bench.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire decided to start Eduardo Escobar at third base.

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