Joe Mauer finally looks likely to rejoin Twins’ lineup Friday

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Joe Mauer’s lengthy stint on the disabled list finally appears to be coming to an end, as the Twins catcher put the finishing touches on his rehab stint in the minors today by taking batting practice against fellow DL inhabitant Joe Nathan.

Mauer spoke to David Dorsey of the Fort Myers News Press afterward, saying: “I feel like I’m ready to get out of here.”

Mauer, who missed most of spring training following offseason knee surgery and has been on the DL since mid-April with further leg problems, looks likely to leave Florida and rejoin the Twins on Friday.

And it sounds like Nathan may not be far behind, telling Dorsey that he feels much better and is pleased with how his velocity has responded to the time off.

Yu Darvish suffers setback during rehab start

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Cubs starter Yu Darvish suffered a setback during Sunday’s rehab start with Low-A South Bend, The Athletic’s Jon Greenberg reports. Darvish threw just 19 pitches in the first inning and felt fine. However, when he took the mound to warm up ahead of the second inning, Darvish “felt something” in his injured right elbow. He exited the game to undergo an MRI.

Darvish’s condition isn’t yet known, but it’s obviously bad news. Darvish signed a six-year, $126 million contract in February and has made just eight starts this season. He owns a 4.95 ERA with 49 strikeouts and 21 walks in 40 innings and hasn’t pitched since May 20.

Darvish said he hopes to return before the end of the regular season to help the team. Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein is realistic about the situation. He said, “It’s a process. We’ll see how he feels. It’s been a long road back, so there’s no point in rushing it now. We probably have one chance given where we are on the calendar to get this right, so that’s the priority.”

Mike Montgomery has pitched out of the rotation in Darvish’s place but he is also currently on the disabled list. Tyler Chatwood, with a 5.22 ERA and 93 walks in 101 2/3 innings, was booted from the rotation at the end of July after the Cubs acquired Cole Hamels. The Cubs, entering Sunday 20 games over .500 and fewer than five games ahead of the Cardinals and Brewers in the NL Central, need some reliability at the back of the rotation.