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Updated: August 6th, 2010 5:04pm
Morneau could begin rehab assignment next week; Hudson back Sunday?

Morneau could begin rehab assignment next week; Hudson back Sunday?

by Phil Mackey
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The Minnesota Twins could receive a major boost in the very near future with the return of one, and perhaps two key players.

Per Joe Christensen at the Star Tribune, first baseman Justin Morneau -- out since July 7 with lingering effects from a concussion -- is "tentatively" scheduled to take batting practice with the team in Chicago on Tuesday and Wednesday before possibly heading out on a rehab assignment before next weekend.

Christensen also says second baseman Orlando Hudson (oblique) is on track to return from the disabled list when eligible on Sunday.

Joe Mauer, who received a cortisone shot in his right shoulder last weekend, is unlikely to catch until Sunday.

Despite battling various injuries to key players, the Twins have managed to win 16 of their last 22 games.

When Hudson and Morneau return, it's likely infielder Trevor Plouffe and catcher Jose Morales could be optioned back to Class-AAA Rochester.

When Nick Punto (hamstring) eventually returns, the Twins could have a tough roster decision to make. Outfielder Jason Repko has a minor-league option left, but he's also been fantastic in limited duty over the past five weeks. Infielder Alexi Casilla is out of options.

Of course, the Twins could simply keep Punto on the DL until September when rosters expand.

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