Joe Mauer to begin minor league rehab assignment Sunday

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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.

Sean Manaea pitches the first no-hitter of 2018

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Athletics southpaw Sean Manaea delivered his first career no-hitter against the Red Sox in a decisive 3-0 victory on Saturday night. Any thought of a perfect game was banished in the first at-bat, when Mookie Betts drew a leadoff six-pitch walk to open the first inning. From there, Manaea was nearly flawless, holding the Sox to four total baserunners and striking out 10 of 30 batters faced — a career record.

Manaea was gifted a three-run lead thanks to RBI doubles from Jed Lowrie and Stephen Piscotty and Marcus Semien‘s solo shot off of Chris Sale in the fifth inning. While the Red Sox managed to draw two walks off of Manaea, they didn’t come anywhere close to plating a run. Andrew Benintendi tried to break up the no-no in the sixth inning with an infield hit down the first base line, but strayed out of bounds and later saw his hit reversed on a call of batter interference.

Entering the ninth inning, the 26-year-old lefty was sitting at just 95 pitches through eight frames of no-hit ball. He quickly deposed Blake Swihart and Mookie Betts with a groundout and fly out, then walked Benintendi on seven pitches. Any threat the Red Sox might have posed was soon eliminated, however, as Hanley Ramirez ground into a force out to complete the no-hitter.

Manaea is the first A’s pitcher to toss a no-no since Dallas Braden’s perfect game against the Rays eight years ago. The last time the Red Sox were on the losing end of a no-hitter was also against an AL West rival, when the Mariners’ Chris Bosio clinched a 2-0 no-no on April 22, 1993. Manaea’s feat is even more outstanding given how dominant the Red Sox have looked this season: prior to Saturday’s defeat, they boasted a 17-2 record and had yet to be shut out during the regular season.