Mauer returns to first base after stint at DH

Mauer returns to first base after stint at DH

MINNEAPOLIS -- After serving as designated hitter for four straight games against the Orioles because of a sore left shoulder, Joe Mauer returned to first base for the Twins on Tuesday against the White Sox.

Mauer initially suffered a minor shoulder injury diving for a ball during Minnesota's series against the Royals last week. It wasn't bad enough for him to miss any games, but Twins manager Ron Gardenhire wanted to be cautious with him so he put him at DH for all four games in Baltimore. It also gave Gardenhire the chance to see what rookie Kennys Vargas could do at first base.

The injury didn't affect Mauer at the plate, as he had three hits and drove in four runs in Monday's 6-4 win over the Orioles. Mauer entered Tuesday hitting .297/.402/.473 with two homers, five doubles, one triple and 17 RBIs in 21 games since returning from a right oblique injury that kept him out for more than a month.

"We gave him some days at DH to gather himself a little bit and regroup," Gardenhire said. "But he's swinging it for us. He had a huge day for our team yesterday. He's been coming to play every day. That's what you want out of him. He missed a lot of baseball. But he's a guy who can stir it up for us. He has a great swinging and is swinging good."

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.