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Mauer making strides, could return soon

CINCINNATI -- Joe Mauer continues to make strides toward his recovery, and his return to the lineup may be just around the corner.

Mauer, who has been out with a bruised right quad, was not in the lineup for Friday's series opener against the Reds, but made his first plate appearance since June 17, drawing a five-pitch walk in the sixth inning.

Minnesota didn't take any extra risks, calling on Liam Hendriks to pinch-run for Mauer.

Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said Mauer caught in the bullpen twice Thursday and continues to improve each day.

"He needed to test [his quad] and see how it is," Antony said. "He came walking in and seemed fine to me. He has improved."

Mauer, who is out with a bruised right quad, is not in the lineup for Friday's series opener against the Reds, but is available to pinch-hit.

While there is no set time frame on Mauer's return, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said his All-Star catcher will return to the lineup whenever he feels ready.

"It's not up to me," Gardenhire said. "All I do is wait for someone to tell me he's ready to go and ready to play. If [Mauer] comes in tomorrow after doing all these bullpens and says 'I'm ready to go, I want to play,' then I type him in. He has to tell me when he's ready and the trainers have to say we're good."

The four-time All-Star and 2009 American League MVP has not made an appearance since June 17, batting .314 with 69 hits and 33 RBIs.

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CIN Full Game Coverage CINNATI -- Joe Mauer continues to make strides toward his recovery, and his return to the lineup may be just around the corner.

Mauer, who has been out with a bruised right quad, was not in the lineup for Friday's series opener against the Reds, but made his first plate appearance since June 17, drawing a five-pitch walk in the sixth inning.

Minnesota didn't take any extra risks, calling on Liam Hendriks to pinch-run for Mauer.

Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said Mauer caught in the bullpen twice Thursday and continues to improve each day.

"He needed to test [his quad] and see how it is," Antony said. "He came walking in and seemed fine to me. He has improved."

Mauer, who is out with a bruised right quad, is not in the lineup for Friday's series opener against the Reds, but is available to pinch-hit.

While there is no set time frame on Mauer's return, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said his All-Star catcher will return to the lineup whenever he feels ready.

"It's not up to me," Gardenhire said. "All I do is wait for someone to tell me he's ready to go and ready to play. If [Mauer] comes in tomorrow after doing all these bullpens and says 'I'm ready to go, I want to play,' then I type him in. He has to tell me when he's ready and the trainers have to say we're good."

The four-time All-Star and 2009 American League MVP has not made an appearance since June 17, batting .314 with 69 hits and 33 RBIs.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.