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03/04/09 5:52 PM EST

Mauer suffers first small setback

Catcher feeling better after taking swings in cage on Wednesday

BRADENTON, Fla. --- The Twins planned to take it slow with catcher Joe Mauer this spring, knowing that his recovery from kidney surgery would likely include some bumps in the road.

And on Wednesday, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire indicated for the first time that Mauer had suffered a slight setback recently. But it was only a temporary one as Gardenhire said that Mauer is back to feeling good again.

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"He's been up and down. He's had some good days and bad days," Gardenhire said. "It's still a process. He was feeling really, really good and then he had a step back. Now he's back to feeling good again. "

Mauer, who underwent the surgery to remove a kidney obstruction on Dec. 22, has yet to take part in any of the team's workouts this spring. But in the past week, Mauer has taken quite a few steps toward getting back on the field.

The catcher took swings in the batting cage off a tee and he also swung the bat on some soft tosses in the cage as well. He even put on the catching gear for the first time at the end of last week when he caught some bullpen sessions.

Mauer has already reached some significant steps in his comeback from the surgery. But Gardenhire said that the team will continue to be cautious with Mauer and take his progression one day at a time.

"Yesterday he was feeling pretty good but he didn't do a lot on the field," Gardenhire said. "[Today] he's supposed to be on the field doing light stuff and then gradually start working right back up."

Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.