UPDATE: Joe Mauer "real close" to returning to action

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mauer smiling.jpgUPDATE: We won’t be seeing Mauer tonight. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire tells Christensen that the Twins will see “where he’s at tomorrow or even Tuesday.”

“He’s anxious. He really wants to play, but he also knows his foot’s not
quite there yet. … We don’t want him to bang it, or he could be out a
long, long time.”

5:17 PM: Christensen writes that he hasn’t seen a lineup for Saturday’s nightcap against the Orioles, but that Drew Butera will be catching.

4:29 PM: According to Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Joe Mauer took batting practice and ran the bases before Saturday’s doubleheader against the Orioles. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire told Joe Kieser of MLB.com that Mauer is “real close” to returning to action.

“[Mauer’s] doing a lot better,” Gardenhire said. “He’s been running
around, and he ran on the track. We’ll see how he feels before making a
decision.”

Mauer hasn’t played since April 30 due to a bruised left heel. Gardenhire hasn’t ruled out using him as a pinch-hitter this weekend, but tells Kieser’s that Monday’s scheduled off-day could prove beneficial.

“The off-day is huge,” Gardenhire said. “I know Joe’s getting a little
anxious to get out there, but we’ll just have to see.”

Including the first game of Saturday’s double-dip, rookie Wilson Ramos has started six straight games behind the plate. Entering Saturday’s action, the 22-year-old is 8-for-20 (.400) with one RBI, though he has cooled down considerably of late. 

Francisco Rodriguez is being sued by his former landlord

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John Wisely of the Detroit Free Press reports that current free agent reliever Francisco Rodriguez is being sued by his former landlord for damage to the rented property as well as missing artwork. The landlord is asking for $80,000 after having kept Rodriguez’s $15,000 security deposit.

The lawsuit says that Rodriguez damaged a bedroom TV, a crystal floor lamp, glass shelves in the bar, glass tiles in the master bath, and a Moroccan mirror in the powder room. Additionally, the suit claims that the bedding is stained and paint has chipped, as well as other damages. And the piece of art that is allegedly missing, which depicts a tiger, is valued at more than $10,000.

Rodriguez has not yet been served with the suit, but the landlord has been speaking to his managers.

The Nationals released Rodriguez, 35, two weeks ago after having signed him to a minor league contract in late June. He started the season with the Tigers, but struggled to a 7.82 ERA over 25 1/3 innings before being released.

Report: Rays acquire Lucas Duda from the Mets

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MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that the Rays have acquired first baseman Lucas Duda from the Mets. The Mets will receive pitching prospect Drew Smith in return, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.

Duda, 31, is batting .246/.347/.532 with 17 home runs and 37 RBI in 291 plate appearances for the Mets this season. He’ll provide a potent bat in the Rays’ lineup as they attempt to overcome their current 2.5-game deficit in the AL East.

Smith, 23, is the Rays’ No. 30 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. He ascended from High-A to Triple-A already this season, posting an aggregate 1.60 ERA with a 40/9 K/BB ratio over 45 innings across four stops with High-A Lakeland (Tigers), High-A Charlotte (Rays), Double-A Montgomery, and Triple-A Durham.