Mauer starts to test injured left heel
Twins catcher still unsure when he will return to lineup
MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins catcher Joe Mauer got back to doing some baseball activities on Wednesday morning, although he was still not ready to return to the lineup.Mauer, who has been sidelined since Friday with a deep soft tissue bruise on his left heel, said he was going to play some catch out on the field. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire also said that Mauer could possibly take some swings in the batting cage to test his heel. "It's been a pain," Mauer said. "Every day it's getting a little bit better, so that's good." Mauer put on cleats during Tuesday night's game and walked around the dugout. He said that was a positive step, but he still doesn't know when he might get back on the field. "I want to be out there every day, but you have to be smart about it, too," Mauer said. "Like I said, this is new to me. I wish I could tell you, 'This is how long I'm going to be out and everything's fine.'" Nike is sending Mauer some shoes that will hopefully provide extra cushioning where the bruise is, and Mauer said he expected them to arrive possibly on Wednesday. While the shoes should help the pain, both Mauer and the Twins want the injury to be mostly healed by the time he gets back on the field. "You can't let it linger on," Gardenhire said. "You can't let him get back out there and all of a sudden reinjure it and he's still sore and then you're a month into this thing and he's still fighting a sore heel. "You just have to take your time here. We've got the third catcher and we're going to take our time with this. I'm going to have to rely on Joe. I can't tell him how he's feeling. I've also relayed to him that I want this thing to be healed before we do go through something and get him back out there."
Twins' Hardy sits with strained wrist
MINNEAPOLIS -- After playing the hero both defensively and offensively in the ninth inning on Tuesday night, Twins shortstop J.J. Hardy was sidelined for the series finale against the Tigers due to a strained left wrist.Hardy suffered the injury while sliding into third base when he tripled in the bottom of the ninth. He then scored the winning run on a wild pitch but didn't realize until after the game that he had done something to his wrist on his feet-first slide. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said Hardy is listed as day-to-day and will likely miss a day or two. But the shortstop didn't want to eliminate the possibility of him returning to the lineup for Thursday's series opener against the Orioles at Target Field. "Looking back, I didn't really feel it because all of the adrenaline and stuff, but it's pretty sore," Hardy said. "We'll go through today and see what it feels like tomorrow. Hopefully, it's not too long." X-rays on Hardy's wrist came back negative, so the club is just calling it a strain for now. Hardy planned to get treatment on his wrist on Wednesday, but he wasn't going to hit or do any other baseball activities, so Gardenhire called him unavailable. Alexi Casilla got the start at shortstop for the series finale. Hardy said his wrist wasn't swollen on Wednesday. Although he put his hand down behind him as he slid into third, Hardy said he wasn't sure exactly sure how his wrist got injured on the play. "I know I always slide like that and I know I'm always getting dirt off the palm of my hand from putting it down," Hardy said. "But I haven't really done this. It's never been sore like this."
Harwell touches Twins' radio broadcaster
MINNEAPOLIS -- Longtime Twins radio play-by-play announcer John Gordon grew up in Detroit, so it's no surprise that the legendary Ernie Harwell was a significant mentor.That's why the news of Harwell's passing on Tuesday night at the age of 92 after a year-long battle with cancer affected Gordon, along with the rest of the baseball community. One story that Gordon shared about Harwell was an interaction the two had last year when Gordon was in Michigan visiting his mother, who passed away about two weeks ago. "Last year, I called Ernie and said, 'Ernie, where do you live?' He told me he lived in Novi," Gordon said. "I said, 'My mother lives in Novi.' "He said, 'No kidding, how far away?' I told him. He said, 'That's very close to where I live. I'll have to go over and visit her.'" Gordon shared with Harwell that his mother was 95 and couldn't see very well anymore or hear. The two left the conversation at that and when Gordon was visiting his mother the very next day at her home, he was surprised to see none other than Harwell walk in. "I said, 'Come on. You've got to be kidding me,'" Gordon said with a laugh. "My mother was so happy. She told everybody at the home, 'Ernie Harwell visited today. Ernie Harwell visited today.'" Harwell certainly had an impact on many people within the Twins organization who met him while he was a broadcaster for the Tigers over 42 seasons. Manager Ron Gardenhire was one of those and he learned of Harwell's passing when the Twins held a moment of silence for the legendary broadcaster during the seventh-inning stretch of Tuesday night's game with the Tigers. "That's really sad," Gardenhire said. "Baseball lost a true baseball man -- a really, really good guy. I was lucky I had the opportunity to at least say hello and get to meet the guy and sit in the dugout and talk with him. I hope a lot of people got that opportunity because he was really special for this game and special for the Detroit Tigers."
MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins left-hander Jose Mijares was scheduled to board a plane on Wednesday evening to join Triple-A Rochester for a Minor League rehab stint. Mijares (strained left wrist) is scheduled to pitch one inning on both Friday and Sunday, and manager Ron Gardenhire said that depending on how the outings go, Mijares could rejoin the team as soon as Monday. ... Catcher Jose Morales had another slight setback in his return from offseason surgery on his right wrist. Morales, who recently caught nine innings during an extended Spring Training game, is battling a sore hip, according to Gardenhire. It was an injury that Morales suffered while sliding.
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.