MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins now appear to have a target date for Joe Mauer's return -- May 1. Mauer, who is currently on the 15-day disabled list with inflammation in his lower back, has been rehabbing at the Twins training facility in Fort Myers, Fla. and is scheduled to begin playing in games on Monday. Mauer's first game action will come in a simulated intrasquad game on Monday and then he'll join the Gulf Coast League Twins for a handful of extended Spring Training games.
The plan is then to have Mauer join Class A Fort Myers by the end of the week for six games with the Miracle. In total, the Twins want Mauer to play in about 10 games and get around 50 at-bats before he's activated from the DL. The Twins also want Mauer to catch in about half of those contests and possibly even catch back-to-back games before his rehab assignment is over. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that Mauer's stint with Class A Fort Myers is scheduled to come to an end on Wednesday, April 29. The Twins have an off-day on Thursday, April 30, and the club will evaluate then if Mauer is ready to rejoin the team on May 1 for the start of a three-game series against the Royals at the Metrodome. "We'll see where we're at and how he's feeling," Gardenhire said. "If he looks like he's ready to head this way then we'll do it. If not, we give him a few more days." Right now, there is definitely hope from the club that Mauer will be ready at that time. "Everything is going really good," Gardenhire said. "He feels really good."
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.