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Updated: May 24th, 2011 5:41pm
Joe Mauer to DH in spring game Wednesday; Twins mum on timetable

Joe Mauer to DH in spring game Wednesday; Twins mum on timetable

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Sidelined with leg weakness and general soreness since April 12, Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer will DH in an extended spring game in Fort Myers on Wednesday -- his first game action since landing on the disabled list.

Mauer is expected to take three or four at-bats, and the team will re-evaluate afterward.

Manager Ron Gardenhire said Mauer has not yet caught a bullpen session, due in part to some lingering shoulder soreness the catcher experienced after arriving to Florida last week.

Mauer has been throwing from 120 feet this week, but "he's not going to throw in a game for whatever, seven days," Gardenhire said.

"He's doing blocking drills, and he's doing all the drills and all those things. Really, we get a report of what Joe does. He does his catching drills, he does his leg work, he's running the bases. His legs feel great."

Gardenhire said trainers have come up with a set schedule for Mauer, which includes DHing this week and possibly ramping up catching duties in the near future.

"They have a plan -- a target date for him to come back," Gardenhire said. "And we're going to work our way up to that and see if that works out. If it has to be adjusted, it has to be adjusted. Right now there's a target date, and that's what they're going to get to."

"I can't tell you the target date."

Mauer admittedly tried to come back from offseason knee surgery and take on every-day catching duties before his body was ready. In 38 plate appearances prior to landing on the disabled list, Mauer was hitting just .235/.289/.265 with one extra-base hit.

Nishioka to see game action on Friday

The Twins also announced that Tsuyoshi Nishioka (broken fibula) will play shortstop in an extended spring game on Friday.

Nishioka has been down in Fort Myers taking batting practice, running bases and fielding groundballs, and he will do sliding drills on Thursday.

"If all goes well, which we anticipate it will, he'll start playing games on Friday," head athletic trainer Rick McWane said.

Paul Molitor has been working with Nishioka this week on his double-play footwork. The extended spring staff is also having players slide into Nishioka to simulate difficult plays around second base.

"He's going to start out the first day is going to be shortstop, I know that for a fact," Gardenhire said. "We talked about that. He'll be able to see everything. It'll be more in front of him, double plays and all those things."

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