CLEVELAND -- Before he can return to the field, Twins catcher Joe Mauer must be able to exercise without activating the concussion-like symptoms that landed him on the disabled list earlier this week.
On Thursday, Mauer was examined by a doctor in Detroit, who was satisfied with how the catcher responded to various questions. Mauer then flew back to Minnesota on Friday to meet with doctors at the Mayo Clinic. They were also pleased with Mauer's recovery.
Mauer is supposed to go to Target Field on Saturday to see Twins trainer Lanning Tucker, who will try to figure out when the catcher can begin exercising. To start, Mauer will walk at a pace that brings his heart rate to 60 percent. Soon after that, he can jog and then start getting back to baseball activities again.
"The doctors today didn't see anything abnormal," Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said Friday. "I think with every player [with this problem] you're just relying upon what they tell you, how they feel."
Mauer, 30, was placed on the seven-day disabled list on Tuesday, when he was a late scratch from the lineup after feeling dizzy during batting practice. In his place, Ryan Doumit has caught two games, as has Chris Herrmann, who started on Friday. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said those two players will continue to split the load while Mauer is out.
Before his injury, Mauer was batting .324 with a .404 on-base percentage with 11 home runs and 47 RBIs this season. The six-time All-Star has thrown out 43 percent of would-be base stealers in 75 games at catcher.
While the Twins certainly miss their best player's production, they don't want to force an early return, which could compound the damage in the long run.
"It's different from breaking a bone or anything else," Antony said. "You're really at the mercy of the player for them to tell you how they feel and when they're ready to progress to the next step."
Mark Emery is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less