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Mauer slowly improving from back spasms

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CLEVELAND -- Twins first baseman Joe Mauer is closer to his return, but not close enough to be much of an option Wednesday night.

Mauer left Sunday's game in the third inning with back spasms and has not played since.

When asked about the capacity in which Mauer would be available Wednesday night, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire set the bar low.

"Maybe to say hello to," Gardenhire said. "He's going out and maybe try to play some catch. He definitely feels better. We're going to see where we go from there."

Mauer came in Wednesday and wanted to play catch during pregame, which is more than he has been able to do since the weekend.

"First you see what he can do today, the catching and all that," Gardenhire said. "He definitely feels better. We're getting closer, just got to get him to where he is free to move.

"It's a good thing, he came in today and wants to go play a little catch on the field. He didn't want to do that yesterday, so we're moving the right direction."

Officially, Mauer remains day-to-day.

Stephen Ellsesser is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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