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Updated: June 1st, 2011 1:35pm
Joe Mauer expected to catch in an extended spring game Thursday

Joe Mauer expected to catch in an extended spring game Thursday

by Phil Mackey
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Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer is expected to catch in an extended spring training game on Thursday.

This would mark the first time Mauer has sat behind the plate in a game since being placed on the disabled list on April 12 with leg weakness and general soreness.

Mauer has been catching bullpens and taking at-bats as a designated hitter in Fort Myers for the last two weeks.

Manager Ron Gardenhire had indicated on several occasions he'd be open to Mauer eventually trying another position. But Gardenhire told reporters on Tuesday that Mauer is "coming back as a catcher. He signed an eight-year deal to catch in the big leagues for the Minnesota Twins, so we're trying to get him back as a catcher."

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
In this story: Ron Gardenhire, Joe Mauer