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Mauer eyeing return from DL against Indians

Twins first baseman working out at Target Field with no issues
MLB.com @RhettBollinger

KANSAS CITY -- Twins first baseman Joe Mauer has continued to perform baseball activities without any issues at Target Field this week, and he could be reinstated from the 10-day disabled list as early as Thursday's series opener against the Indians.

Mauer, who has been on the DL with a cervical neck strain and concussion-like symptoms since May 19, has been running, fielding grounders, taking batting practice and working out at the ballpark with no symptoms. He also tracked pitches during right-hander Michael Pineda's bullpen session on Tuesday.

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KANSAS CITY -- Twins first baseman Joe Mauer has continued to perform baseball activities without any issues at Target Field this week, and he could be reinstated from the 10-day disabled list as early as Thursday's series opener against the Indians.

Mauer, who has been on the DL with a cervical neck strain and concussion-like symptoms since May 19, has been running, fielding grounders, taking batting practice and working out at the ballpark with no symptoms. He also tracked pitches during right-hander Michael Pineda's bullpen session on Tuesday.

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"We've been pleased," manager Paul Molitor said before Tuesday's game against the Royals. "On almost a daily basis activity has increased, including more intensified baseball work. Today, reports were good. He hit, he took grounders, he ran. Pineda threw a bullpen back at Target Field and Joe stood in for that so he could track some pitches."

Video: MIL@MIN: Mauer exits the game with neck tightness

Molitor said Mauer's concussion-like symptoms have subsided over the past three or four days, but that they'll continue to be cautious given Mauer's history with concussions, including the career-altering concussion in '13 that forced him to move to first base. But as long as they don't make a sudden return, the Twins will discuss getting him back in the lineup once they return home on Thursday.

"We'll make sure we get Joe's input," Molitor said. "That's going to be fairly vital to the discussion about when we might see him back on the 25-man roster. Those things are beginning between myself and the training staff and the guys up in Minneapolis, Derek [Falvey] and Thad [Levine], about what's right. And certainly, Joe's input will be valuable when we make that decision."

Worth noting
• Former Twins closer Joe Nathan will join scout John Wilson as the club's representatives for the first day of the MLB Draft. Nathan is one of 21 former MLB All-Stars who will serve as a representative for the 30 clubs. The three-day Draft begins on Monday at 6 p.m. CT and will be broadcast live on MLB Network and MLB.com.

• The Twins traded Triple-A right-hander Myles Jaye to the Indians for cash considerations. Jaye, 26, had a 4.25 ERA with 19 strikeouts and 15 walks in 42 1/3 innings with Rochester. He has a career 4.10 ERA in eight seasons in the Minors and he had a 12.08 ERA in five appearances with the Tigers last year.

• Center fielder Byron Buxton was held out of the starting lineup on Tuesday, as he remains bothered by his fractured left big toe, but he did enter the 2-1 loss in 14 innings as a pinch-runner in the ninth. Buxton went 0-for-2 at the plate, including stranding the bases loaded in the 10th.

Buxton, who also ran into the center-field wall that forced him to leave Saturday's game in the sixth inning, will continue to play through the injuries. But Molitor said before the game he's trying to pick his spots to give Buxton time to recover.

Video: MIN@SEA: Buxton crashes into wall, exits the game

"He's been trying to battle through this," Molitor said. "He's not pain-free yet. He's trying to find a way to be effective. We see him making some progress at times. I thought last night was better, staying on some pitches. I see once in a while a little bit of a reaction to a swing or a movement, and we've all seen he's a little bit more tentative on the bases as far as stolen base attempts."

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.

Minnesota Twins, Byron Buxton, Joe Mauer