Joe Mauer is two weeks into what is usually at least a month-long recovery for a strained oblique muscle and there’s no timetable yet for the Twins first baseman’s return to the lineup.
Mauer is eligible to come off the disabled list on July 18, but Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com reports that he’s yet to start baseball activities and continues to have some soreness.
Mauer’s move from catcher to first base got off to a terrible start, but he was actually starting to hit well before suffering the oblique injury. In his last 20 games before going on the disabled list Mauer hit .320 and he’s currently got a 12-game hitting streak on hold.
In his absence Chris Colabello and Chris Parmelee has been sharing time at first base.
No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.
First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.
On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.
Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.