Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.

Mauer appears closer to a return, though not ready for Game 1

Posted by: Phil Miller under Twins game coverage Updated: May 8, 2010 - 2:07 PM

It's chilly but dry here at Target Field. The Twins and Orioles are getting ready to play the first doubleheader in the new ballpark today, with the night game serving as a makeup for Friday's postponement.

The Orioles have flip-flopped their pitching order, going with Jeremy Guthrie for Game 1 and Kevin Millwood for Game 2. The Twins will stick with Francisco Liriano for Game 1 and Scott Baker for Game 2.

Two games in one day will be a test for the Twins' already thin bench. Shortstop J.J. Hardy is unavailable because of his strained left wrist.

Joe Mauer is not in the starting lineup, but he took batting practice this morning and ran the bases. Manager Ron Gardenhire said Mauer also felt good running on the synthetic track near the clubhouse on Friday.

Mauer was going to try some catching in the underground batting cages. There is a chance he'd be available to play today, though Gardenhire said the team will wait to see how he feels after going through these drills.

"He’s getting real close, so we’ll see after this morning’s events," Gardenhire said.

I don't think Mauer would have pushed himself this hard if he didn't think he could play this weekend. The Twins have open dates Monday and Thursday, with two games against the White Sox in the middle, so Mauer could have used all that time to get back to full strength for next weekend's series at Yankee Stadium. But now it looks like he could be back much sooner.

Wilson Ramos is starting Game 1 at catcher. Gardenhire said he would almost definitely use a different catcher for Game 2. It could be Drew Butera or even Mauer. Stay tuned...

ORIOLES (8-21)

1. Julio Lugo, 2B

2. Adam Jones, CF

3. Nick Markakis, RF

4. Miguel Tejada, 3B

5. Ty Wigginton, DH

6. Matt Wieters, C

7. Garrett Atkins, 1B

8. Nolan Reimold, LF

9. Cesar Izturis, SS

Starting pitcher: RH Jeremy Guthrie (0-4, 4.78 ERA)

TWINS (19-10)

1. Denard Span, CF

2. Orlando Hudson, 2B

3. Justin Morneau, 1B

4. Jim Thome, DH

5. Michael Cuddyer, RF

6. Jason Kubel, LF

7. Wilson Ramos, C

8. Brendan Harris, SS

9. Nick Punto, 3B

Starting pitcher: LH Francisco Liriano (4-0, 1.50 ERA)

Target Field. First pitch: 12:10 p.m. TV: FSN. Twins Radio Network

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