MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins catcher Joe Mauer took another step toward his return to the baseball field on Wednesday. Mauer, who is currently working out in Fort Myers, Fla. while he's on the 15-day disabled list with inflammation in his lower back, took batting practice on Wednesday with the Class A Fort Myers Miracle. It was the first batting practice session for Mauer since last September and he capped it off by hitting a home run. "It was pretty good," Mauer told the Fort Myers News-Press of his session. "The last round was the home run round. That last one felt pretty good."
Mauer also caught a bullpen session by right-hander Scott Baker, who is on the disabled list with right shoulder stiffness. Baker is scheduled to start on Friday for the Miracle in their season opener and the expectation is that he'll rejoin the team sometime next week. Baker is eligible to come off the DL on April 12. Over the past couple of weeks, Mauer has been making progress in his recovery. He's caught bullpen sessions while also continuing to take light swings off a tee and doing cardio work on a bicycle, an elliptical machine and in the pool. Mauer told the newspaper that he still hasn't gotten to the point of running, meaning there remains no timetable for his possible return to the team. While there is nothing specific in terms of him coming back, the club believes their catcher will be back by the end of April. The only time that Mauer has experienced pain in his inflamed right sacroiliac joint -- where the base of the spine meets the pelvis -- is when he tried to run earlier this spring. The club has said that they are going to wait until all of the inflammation is out of the joint before Mauer attempts to run again.
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.