Twins could activate Joe Mauer from disabled list Thursday

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Some things are finally starting to go right for the Twins. They’ve won eight of their last 10 games and even managed a decisive 8-1 victory over the AL West-leading Rangers on Saturday at Target Field.

They’re also starting to get healthier.

From John Shipley of the St. Paul Pioneer Press comes word that catcher Joe Mauer has not been scheduled to play in any rehab games at Triple-A Rochester and could jump from Single-A Fort Myers to the Twin Cities on Thursday of this week.

Mauer will catch a full nine innings today and Monday for the Fort Myers Miracle before batting against rehabbing closer Joe Nathan in a simulated game on Wednesday. If that all goes well and Mauer feels strong enough, he could be activated in time for the Twins’ Thursday afternoon game against the White Sox.

Mauer was 8-for-34 with no homers and four RBI before landing on the disabled list in the middle of April with bilateral leg weakness. He’s not going to save Minnesota’s season all on his own, but he’ll certainly improve the club’s chances of pulling off a major comeback. Manager Ron Gardenhire said Sunday that he hasn’t decided whether Drew Butera or Rene Rivera will be sent back to the minors to clear a 25-man roster spot.

Steven Souza Jr. exits game after injuring his hand on a hit by pitch

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Rays’ right fielder Steven Souza Jr. left Saturday’s game after getting hit on the left hand by a pitch from Blue Jays’ right-hander Joe Biagini in the seventh inning. The pitch appeared to hit the top of Souza Jr.’s hand, causing the outfielder to crumple at the plate and requiring assistance from assistant athletic trainer Paul Harker as he exited the field. Postgame reports from the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin revealed that Souza Jr. sustained a left hand contusion and is scheduled to undergo further evaluation on Sunday.

While the diagnosis isn’t as bad as it could be, it’s still a tough break for the right fielder, who missed 40 days of the 2015 season after sustaining a fracture in his left hand on another hit by pitch. The team has yet to announce any concrete timetable for Souza Jr.’s return, though manager Kevin Cash indicated that they’ll be taking things day to day for the time being.

Souza Jr. is batting .326/.398/.543 with four home runs and 17 RBI through 104 PA in 2017. He went 1-for-2 with a base hit and a walk prior to his departure during Saturday’s 4-1 loss.

Video: Brett Gardner goes deep for his first and second home runs of 2017

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It’s been a slow start to the season for Yankees’ outfielder Brett Gardner, who entered Saturday’s matinee against the Orioles with a .188/.316/.234 batting line, three doubles and five stolen bases in his first 76 PA of the year. That all changed in the first inning of Saturday’s game, when Gardner skied a leadoff home run to right field:

Orioles’ right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez couldn’t find his footing against the Yankees in the second inning, either. Gardner returned for his second home run of the season, a three-run shot to lift New York 5-0 over Baltimore:

Measured at 411 feet in the right field bullpen, the left fielder’s blast marked the seventh home run hit by a Yankee this series. According to the club’s PR department, it’s also the first multi-home run game Gardner has recorded since September 2015. The Yankees currently lead the Orioles 7-0 through four innings.