Mauer to face live pitching this week

Mauer to face live pitching this week

MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins first baseman Joe Mauer is slated to start taking batting practice in the cages on Monday before progressing to hitting on the field on Wednesday.

Mauer, who has been on 15-day disabled list with a strained right oblique since July 2, has been taking soft toss in the cages but will progress to hitting live pitching for the first time on Monday.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said it's a big step for Mauer, who could start a rehab assignment while the team is on the road next weekend.

"By the time we get back from this road trip, he'll be on a rehab assignment," Gardenhire said. "That's the hope. If everything goes good and he's feeling good we'll get him on a rehab by the time we get back. And by the next week he'll be ready to play for us."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for 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.