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Updated: May 22nd, 2011 1:07pm
Joe Mauer scheduled to play in extended spring game Monday or Tuesday

Joe Mauer scheduled to play in extended spring game Monday or Tuesday

by Tom Pelissero
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Joe Mauer's long recovery process is scheduled to take another step forward this week, when the Minnesota Twins' All-Star catcher plays in an extended spring training game in Florida.

Mauer hasn't played since April 12 because of a variety of ailments and officially remains on the disabled list with bilateral leg weakness. He traveled to the Twins' facility in Fort Myers, Fla., to ramp up his rehabilitation.

"He's doing a lot of running, ran the bases and everything's going good," manager Ron Gardenhire told 1500 ESPN on Sunday morning. "He still had a little bit of the soreness in his arm, and that's just from -- he's throwing, doing all the throwing and stuff like that. The plan is for him Monday or Tuesday to get into a game, start out as a DH and then you work your way into the rest of it."

Mauer's list of injuries -- at various points, Gardenhire has said he has problems in a knee, shoulder and elbow -- hasn't sat well in some corners of the organization. But publicly, Gardenhire and others have backed Mauer's cautious approach, noting the problems he incurred when trying to ramp up his workload quickly late in spring training after offseason knee surgery.

"It's almost impossible for me to start pushing," Gardenhire said. "We've seen already, he came out and it didn't work out. He said he was ready. I watched this, and then I watched the young man come in and was really, really sore.

"It's impossible for me as a manager to try to force-feed anything. I'm just letting the training staff and the doctors do their thing, and when they tell him he's ready, he's going to be ready. I can't really push it any more than that."

During his weekly radio show (9:30 a.m., 1500 ESPN), Gardenhire also touched on several other injuries, including:

• Left-hander Glen Perkins, who strained his right oblique in Saturday's loss, could miss three weeks to a month. "That's going to put the load on a couple of other people," Gardenhire said, pointing to deposed closer Joe Nathan as one pitcher likely to take on an expanded role. "We're just going to have to give Glen a chance to get healthy."

• Infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka is "still limping around a little bit," but he could he could play in an extended spring game late this week as well. "It's all going to depend on how he does early in the week and if he starts progressing," Gardenhire said. "They believe the leg has healed, other than just general soreness now. So, we go from there. If it works out, it does."

• Designated hitter Jim Thome and outfielder Jason Repko are expected to join the big-league team for Monday's series opener against Seattle, with infielder Luke Hughes and outfielder Ben Revere most likely being optioned to Class-AAA Rochester. However, Gardenhire indicated Revere could be back soon, saying that he's "really enjoyed Ben. I told Billy (Smith, the Twins' general manager) that (Saturday) night. 'Rep' hasn't swung the bat great down there."

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
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