Nolasco, on the 15-day DL retroactive to July 7 with a right elbow strain, tossed 3 2/3 scoreless innings, scattering two hits and a walk while striking out two. He threw 51 pitches, 30 going for strikes.
"Everything went well," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Mauer is healthy and got through his at-bats. I guess it was pretty wild down there -- a mania going on.
"And Nolasco did his thing. He felt great and the velocity was good, so it was a good start for him."
Mauer is expected to remain with Cedar Rapids through the weekend, before joining the Twins in Houston on Monday, if all goes well. Nolasco is slated to make one more start with Cedar Rapids on Sunday. He is expected to throw roughly 75 pitches.
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. Alex Smith is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.