Notebook: Mauer nearing return, Instructional league rosters released
Get the 1500 ESPN SportsWire delivered to your inbox daily, and keep up with all the news in Twin Cities Sports
MINNEAPOLIS -- It could be a matter of days for Joe Mauer's return from a concussion, not weeks, general manager Terry Ryan said Sunday.
Mauer last played Aug. 19 versus the Mets, but he and the club have remained optimistic that his return would come before the end of the season.
With the progress Mauer has made in recent days -- from early hitting, to taking BP on the field -- Mauer could be activated before the ten-game homestand ends, Sept. 15th.
--The Twins Instructional League roster was released Sunday, and includes some notable names. For pitchers: Jose Berrios, Alex Meyer, and 2013 draft picks Kohl Stewart and Stephen Gonsalves are among the standouts. Power-hitting prospect Adam Brett Walker headlines the outfielders, while Niko Goodrum and Travis Harrison are among the notable infielders. Former first rounder Levi Michael will also be in that infield group, as he attempts to get his career on track.
Repeat attendees from 2012 include Berrios, Hudson Boyd, Yorman Landa, Austin Malinowski, Mason Melotakis, Luke Bard, Jorge Fernandez, Goodrum, Harrison, D.J. Hicks, Aderling Mejia, Michael, German Minier, Jorge Polanco, Kennys Vargas, Zach Larson, Jeremias Pineda, Walker, and Dereck Rodriguez.
'Instructs' consist of a handful of games per week -- for three-and-a-half to four weeks -- in Fort Myers, Fla., where young players get additional reps, or older players can work on a possible position change or rehab an injury.
--Former Twins pitcher Scott Baker pitched well for the Cubs on Sunday in his return to the major leagues after nearly two years off. Baker threw 55 pitches, and lasted five shutout innings (one strikeout, one walk). Baker left with the lead, as catcher Junior Lake homered in the bottom of the fifth, but Cubs relievers Justin Grimm and James Russell allowed three runs to hand Baker the no-decision.
Baker had last pitched in the major leagues with the Twins on Sept. 24, 2011. He'll be a free agent at season's end.