La Velle E. Neal III has covered baseball for the Star Tribune since 1998 (the post-Knoblauch era). Born and raised in Chicago, he grew up following the White Sox and hating the Cubs. He attended both the University of Illinois and Illinois-Chicago and began his baseball writing career at the Kansas City Star. He can be heard occasionally on KFAN radio, lending his great baseball mind to Paul Allen and other hosts. Mark Rosen borrows him occasionally for WCCO-TV.

Twins-Indians: Mauer making progress; Pino starts Tuesday

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: July 21, 2014 - 7:06 PM

Joe Mauer was out early taking grounders and running in the outfield as he recovers from a right oblique strain. He plans to take some dry swings ( not off the tee or against any pitching). Mauer said he's fine with every day activities but definitely still feels it when he starts working out. Not surprised. Most players I have covered missed at least a month with that injury.

``That's not what I wanted to hear,'' Mauer said. But it's true. It's an injury that takes a while to calm down.

Still, Mauer feels like he's making progress. He's getting treatment every day and is at the point where he can do a little more each day.

``Long days at the park,'' he said.

Yohan Pino is here and will start on Tuesday against Cleveland, as expected. Lefthander Kris Johnson is expected to be sent down after tonight's start to clear room for Pino,

Pino was sent to Class AAA Rochester before the All-Star break to remain on somewhat of a routine - and to make room for Kris Johnson to be be added in time to start on July 11 against Colorado. Pino started on Thursday against Norfolk, giving up five earned runs over five innings on three hits - and seven walks

Pino's theory is that pitching with six day's rest threw him off schedule. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire didn't seen too concerned either, probably because his options are limited.

Pinto will start Tuesday, then Sunday against the White Sox. The Twins have an off day on Monday, July 28, so everyone can be pushed back a day in the rotation. Pinto could start again on Aug. 1. Aug. 2 should be the next day the Twins need a fifth starter.

By the way, my new prediction for the debut of Trevor May is Aug. 10. He threw 47 pitches on Sunday in his return from a calf strain. He'll need at least three more starts to build up his arm strength to 90-plus pitches.

Oswaldo Arcia is not in the lineup today because a lefthander is on the mound for Cleveland. But he was out on the field for early batting practice with hitting coach Tom Brunansky.

Michael Brantley is getting a day off for the Indians, leaving them with a lineup that has some interesting batting averages.

Cleveland (50-48)

Jason Kipnis, 2B
Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
Yan Gomes, DH
Carlos Santana, 1B (.204-14-40)
Ryan Raburn, LF (.199-2-18)
Nick Swisher, RF (.209-8-40)
Roberto Perez, C
Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B
Mike Aviles, CF (infielder playing the outfield)

T.J. House, LHP

Twins (44-53)

Danny Santana, CF (infielder playing the outfield)
Brian Dozier, 2B
Trevor Plouffe, 3B
Kendrys Morales, 1B (.239-1-18, 10 game hit streak)
Josh Willingham, LF (.209-8-27)
Kurt Suzuki, C
Chris Colabello, DH
Chris Parmelee, RF
Eduardo Escobar, SS

Kris Johnson, LHP

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