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Mauer maintains Classic momentum at plate

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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins catcher Joe Mauer returned to the lineup for the first time since playing for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic.

Mauer, who last played in a Grapefruit League game March 2, went 2-for-3 against the Marlins on Monday at Hammond Stadium. He kept his hot streak at the plate alive, as he batted .429 with two doubles, a triple, two RBIs and five walks in six games with Team USA.

"Mauer, of course, got his knocks," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He always gets his knocks."

Twins closer Glen Perkins also returned to action but pitched in a Minor League game instead. He struck out the side against Double-A Portland. Fellow left-hander Brian Duensing also threw two innings against Portland.

"They were all good," Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson said.

Third baseman Trevor Plouffe, who has been out with a strained right calf, is expected to play in a Minor League game Tuesday. He is scheduled to play in Minor League games for three straight days before returning to Grapefruit League play Friday.

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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