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Updated: March 14th, 2011 3:40pm
Joe Mauer back in the lineup on Wednesday? 'There's a good chance'

Joe Mauer back in the lineup on Wednesday? 'There's a good chance'

by Phil Mackey
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Minnesota Twins could take a giant step toward piecing together the 'A' lineup later this week.

According to manager Ron Gardenhire, there is a "good chance" Joe Mauer -- rehabbing from offseason knee surgery -- could play in his first spring training game on Wednesday as a designated hitter.

"Mauer's going to start moving around here right after this off-day (Tuesday) and get involved offensively," Gardenhire said.

"Again, another nice day (Monday), a real good day. So it's starting to get exciting around here. We're starting to see a little activity."

Gardenhire made no promises about inserting the former American League MVP into Wednesday's lineup, adding, "it's not guaranteed." Mauer just started catching bullpen sessions for the first time on Saturday.

"But we said after the day off that we'll come in, and there's a possibility," Gardenhire said. "We'll talk to him Wednesday morning to see how he's doing ... But he's feeling great. He told me that today. he had a really good day today, and there's a possibility."

At one point two weeks ago, the Twins were without Mauer, Justin Morneau (concussion), Delmon Young (turf toe) and Michael Cuddyer (foot). If Mauer comes back this week, Cuddyer will be the only sidelined regular -- and even he has been taking batting practice over the last few days.

"There's a lot of positives coming out of it right now," Gardenhire said. "We're starting to see some guys actually feeling pretty good about themselves. Morneau's feeling really good, and actually is not having any signs at all -- actually feeling great. Talking to his doctors, he's wanting to push the envelope now.

"Mauer is the same thing. For the first time this spring, he's feeling good enough to really get involved. He's ready to go."

The Twins host the Mets at Hammond Stadium on Wednesday after an off-day Tuesday.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd