KANSAS CITY, MO. -- Justin Morneau has had about four good days in a row back home, Manager Ron Gardenhire said, and if this keeps up, the plan is for him to work out with the Twins on Thursday at Target Field, taking BP, fielding grounders, etc.

Naturally, this makes you wonder if there's a chance Morneau could be ready for the first round of the playoffs, but Gardenhire said we're getting ahead of ourselves with those questions. The Twins are taking this one step at a time.

Joe Mauer ran the bases, did some exercises in the outfield and caught a bullpen session from Carl Pavano. So far, Mauer does not seem to be having any trouble with his left knee.

There's a good chance Mauer will be back in the lineup at DH on Thursday. Asked about Jim Thome's back and J.J. Hardy's knee, Gardenhire said, "everything's good." Those two would have to get through a workout with the Twins on Thursday before getting put back in the lineup, but could return Friday.

From earlier

Over on his ESPN1500 blog, Patrick Reusse has a must read today, comparing the Twins' current five-game losing streak to the team's five-game skid after clinching in 1987.

It includes an interesting look at the Twins' upset of the 98-win Tigers in the '87 ALCS, and Reusse concludes that there is no comparison between these two slumps. Patrick writes:

Nothing is the same for the Twins of 2010. They will not have Justin Morneau, the Hrbek of this era, for the second straight postseason. Jim Thome, the veteran slugger that picked up much of Morneau's production, has a bad back. More distressing, Joe Mauer, the Puckett of this era, has a bad knee and his ability to serve as the every-day catcher for the playoffs is in question.

Ten days, no action for Mauer -- not even as a DH. Go ahead, Twins fans. You have permission to be as nervous as you choose.

Tonight, the Twins will try to avoid their first three-game sweep in Kansas City since 1994.

Perhaps, Green Day had the Twins in mind when it wrote these lyrics:

Summer has come and passed
The innocent can never last
Wake me up when September ends

TWINS (92-65)

1. Denard Span, CF
2. Orlando Hudson, 2B
3. Delmon Young, DH
4. Jason Kubel, RF
5. Michael Cuddyer, 1B
6. Danny Valencia, 3B
7. Jason Repko, LF
8. Drew Butera, C
9. Alexi Casilla, SS

Starting pitcher: RH Scott Baker (12-9, 4.53 ERA)

ROYALS (65-92)

1. Jarrod Dyson, CF
2. Mike Aviles, 2B
3. Billy Butler, DH
4. Kila Ka'aihue, 1B
5. Wilson Betemit, 3B
6. Alex Gordon, LF
7. Yuniesky Betancourt, SS
8. Lucas May, C
9. Jai Miller, RF

Starting pitcher: RH Luke Hochevar (6-5, 4.79 ERA)

Kauffman Stadium. First pitch: 7:10 p.m. TV: FSN. Twins Radio Network