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.