MINNEAPOLIS -- Less than three weeks since having surgery to relieve a pinched nerve in his neck, Justin Morneau will begin baseball activities this week.
Twins head trainer Rick McWane gave an update on Morneau's progress Monday morning, and he said Morneau played catch Sunday without any issues.
"He'll take some grounders," McWane said. "Swinging a bat will be the last thing, but he's ready to take ground balls, play catch and run around."
Morneau had the surgery on June 29 and was expected to be out at least six weeks, a timeframe that would have Morneau back in action for the Twins no earlier than mid-August.
His current progress seems like it may be ahead of schedule, but it remains unclear whether it actually is.
"Maybe a little," McWane said, "but it's kind of early to say until he starts swinging."
Twins decide to be cautious with Baker
MINNEAPOLIS -- After Scott Baker felt stiffer than expected on Sunday, he and the Twins' coaching and training staff decided it would be best not to push things by pitching on Monday.
If Baker had pitched the first game of the doubleheader against the Indians as scheduled, the situation could have gotten worse than it is already. Any issues with his elbow after that outing would have eliminated the Twins' ability to backdate his trip to the disabled list.
"We all sat down and had a long conversation," said Twins head trainer Rick McWane. "We all decided it was in his best interest not to push it and give it a couple extra days. We'd already invested 12 days or whatever it was in this, and we didn't want to have him go out there and throw, because then you're talking another 15 days."
Baker's current plan is to rest for a couple days before throwing another bullpen session. The Twins will reevaluate the right-hander at that point and decide on the next step.
McWane also gave updates on outfielders Denard Span and Jason Kubel, both of whom are rehabbing injuries with Triple-A Rochester.
Span and Kubel started Sunday's game for the Red Wings, with Span going 0-for-3 batting leadoff and playing center field. Kubel was 1-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored while batting in the No. 3 spot as the designated hitter.
They're both scheduled to play again Monday in Rochester.
"Span did fine last night. He's going to play another five innings in the outfield today," McWane said. "Kubel is going to play outfield today for nine innings. He had no problems yesterday."
Mauer gets second career start at first base
MINNEAPOLIS -- Joe Mauer started at first base for the second time in his career in the first game of a split doubleheader against the Indians on Monday and caught the second game.
Mauer, who last started at first base on July 7 against the White Sox, was originally expected to serve as designated hitter in Game 1, but Twins manager Ron Gardenhire opted to go with Jim Thome because of his success against Indians left-hander David Huff.
"The numbers kind of lead you that way," Gardenhire said. "Mauer is like 7-for-16, and Thome is 4-for-6 with a couple of homers [against Huff]. So it's hard to kind of go away from those things."
Drew Butera started at catcher in the first game with right-hander Anthony Swarzak on the mound, while Mauer worked behind the plate with left-hander Scott Diamond, who made his big league debut in the nightcap.
"He'll catch [the second game]," Gardenhire said of Mauer before Game 1. "He's one of the selected few. He wins the lottery. That's why I was going to DH him in the first game, but after we saw Thome's numbers, we just wanted to see what Thome thought, and he wanted to hit."
Diamond excited to make big league debut
MINNEAPOLIS -- Left-hander Scott Diamond will make his Major League debut in the second game of a split doubleheader against the Indians on Monday after right-hander Scott Baker was placed on the disabled list with a right flexor strain on Sunday.
Diamond, who was a Rule 5 Draft pick from the Braves and was officially acquired in a trade for right-hander Billy Bullock in late March, posted a 4.70 ERA in 17 starts with Triple-A Rochester.
"It's exciting," Diamond said. "It was really good seeing the locker room and all the guys again from Spring Training. So I'm really excited to be back here and I'm going to try to do my best."
Diamond was acquired via trade after the club decided not to keep him on the 40-man roster after Spring Training. He was told to work on his mechanics and his pickoff move down in the Minors and said he feels like he made progress with Rochester.
"They said they liked what I bring to the table -- that my velocity was OK and my stuff is good and I have an out pitch," Diamond said. "And that they just wanted to see me continue to develop to be ready to pitch at this level. The Twins having confidence in me helped me make a turnaround about a month ago, and I've been pitching better."
Diamond had also pitched well over his last two starts with the Red Wings, posting a 2.40 ERA with 10 strikeouts and just one walk over 14 innings.
"He's been throwing a lot better," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He had some scuffles early. The big thing is repeating his delivery and staying with it mechanically. The report I got on the computer from our staff was that lately he's been very good and consistent with his delivery."
Twins reschedule game with White Sox
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins announced their postponed game against the White Sox on June 14 has been rescheduled for Monday, Sept. 5 at 7:10 p.m. CT as part of a split day-night doubleheader.
The 1:10 p.m. CT game on that day will be played as originally scheduled, with gates opening at 11 a.m. CT. The gates for the second game will be open at 6 p.m. CT.
Tickets to the postponed game will be good for admission into the rescheduled game, as tickets for the game are not subject to refunds or exchanges.
Fans are encouraged to visit www.twinsbaseball.com, call 612-33-TWINS or 800-33-TWINS, or visit the Target Field box office during normal business hours for detailed information on the Twins' rainout policy.
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.