Joe Mauer not ready to return from DL when eligible Thursday

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Joe Mauer is eligible to be activated from the disabled list Thursday, but general manager Bill Smith confirmed today that he won’t be ready to return then.

In fact, there’s no official timetable for Mauer’s return and his status continues to be somewhat mysterious between the initial diagnosis of bilateral leg weakness and a subsequent flu bug that caused him to lose 15 pounds.

Smith told Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune that Mauer is finally over the viral infection and is now working to build his leg strength, with a minor-league rehab assignment likely required before rejoining the Twins’ lineup is a possibility.

Drew Butera and Steve Holm have split catching duties in Mauer’s absence, combining to hit .200 with zero homers in 11 games.

The Angels to lower the right field wall

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The Los Angeles Angels announced today that they will lower the right field wall at Angel Stadium from 18 feet to eight feet.

The stated reason: to make room for a new out-of-town scoreboard and “philosophical changes.” Obviously, though, helping out lefty power hitters is on the agenda too. As it was, Angel Stadium was in the bottom ten of all parks in allowing homers for lefties.

One of their own lefties is Kole Calhoun, who is a pull hitter. Another one could be Shohei Ohtani, who is a lefty hitter. Although, as a righty pitcher, that could harm him against opposing lefty batters. I’m assuming, though, that the Angels ran a bunch of numbers to establish that this move helps them more than it hurts them, or else they wouldn’t be doing it.