Mauer remains out of Twins' starting lineup

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mauer hitting.jpgTwins catcher Joe Mauer took batting practice with the rest of his teammates Thursday at Target Field, according to the Associated Press, but is still not in the starting lineup due to a tissue bruise in his left heel.

Wilson Ramos, batting .438 since his May 2 call-up, will continue to fill in at catcher for the Twins until Mauer is fully comfortable with spending nine innings in a crouched position. 

Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire isn’t revealing a whole lot of information, but it would seem sensible for Mauer to be eased back into the starting lineup at DH.  Ramos is hitting well enough to deserve an extended look in the big leagues and not having to crouch should help the long-term health of Mauer’s left heel.

The Twins are 19-9 this season and have won four straight games in Mauer’s absence.  Good teams will do that.  The superstar catcher was batting .345/.406/.500 with 10 extra-base hits before the injury.

Blue Jays, Josh Donaldson to table extension talks

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Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.

Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.

The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.

If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.