While Justin Morneau and Denard Span are out of the Twins’ starting lineup tonight due to injury, we at least have some encouraging news about the face of the franchise to pass along.
According to Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Joe Mauer will be the designated hitter tomorrow in his first minor league rehab game with High-A Fort Myers.
Mauer, who caught five innings and threw out a baserunner earlier today, has been playing in extended spring training games for a little over a week now. He was placed on the 60-day disabled list earlier this week, so he won’t be eligible to return until June 12. Setbacks are certainly possible, but his recent progress suggests he could be ready to rejoin the Twins on or around that date.
Mauer was batting .235/.289/.265 with one double and four RBI over his first 38 plate appearances before going on the disabled list with bilateral leg weakness in April.
Bill Whitehead of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that the Braves have signed reliever David Hernandez to a minor league contract on Sunday. He’ll report to spring training as a non-roster invitee.
Hernandez, who turns 32 years old in May, signed a minor league contract with the Giants in February. He requested and was granted his release on Friday when he learned he wasn’t making the team’s 25-man roster to open the season.
Hernandez pitched for the Phillies last year. He compiled a 3.84 ERA with an 80/32 K/BB ratio in 72 2/3 innings.
Scott Kazmir won’t begin the regular season in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Manager Dave Roberts said after Kazmir’s Cactus League outing on Sunday that it “doesn’t make sense” for the ailing Kazmir to break camp in the rotation, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. The lefty will instead rehab some more and join the rotation at a later time.
Kazmir has been battling a hip issue which has caused his mechanics to suffer. He was clocked in the low 80’s 10 days ago and wasn’t much better on Sunday afternoon.
Last season with the Dodgers, Kazmir posted a 4.56 ERA with a 134/52 K/BB ratio in 136 1/3 innings, his worst numbers since returning to the majors in 2013.