Joe Mauer on track to return to Twins early next week

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Twins manager Ron Gardenhire told MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger on Tuesday that first baseman Joe Mauer is likely to rejoin the club early next week in Houston after playing in rehab games through the weekend with the Low-A Cedar Rapids Kernels.

Mauer has been on the disabled list since July 2 with a strained oblique. He’ll be looking to finish the 2014 season on a positive note after batting .271/.342/.353 with two homers and 28 RBI over his first 76 games.

Mauer is owed $23 million per year through 2018.

According to FanGraphs’ free agent values, the 31-year-old has been worth $2.8 million this year.

Craig Counsell pulls Wade Miley after one batter

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Brewers manager Craig Counsell took “the opener” to new heights in Game 5 of the NLCS on Wednesday evening. Expecting Wade Miley to pitch a sizable portion of the game, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts stacked the lineup with right-handed hitters behind leadoff batter Cody Bellinger.

Wade Miley walked Bellinger to start the game. Counsell promptly walked to the mound and called for right-hander Brandon Woodruff, removing Miley from the game after just one batter and five pitches, as was the plan. Woodruff will face almost exclusively right-handers down the Dodgers’ lineup with the exceptions of Max Muncy and Clayton Kershaw.

Miley will now start Game 6. Or will he?