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Joe Mauer injury: Twins C could return as early as Friday

Mauer may not start at catcher when he returns to the field.

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sport

Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer could return to the lineup as early as Friday, reports Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

The Twins placed Joe Mauer on the seven-day disabled list after he took a foul tip off his mask Aug. 19 against the New York Mets. Mauer stayed in the game, but felt dizziness the next day and was scratched from the lineup.

Minnesota has been cautious with its star, but Mauer said that he will play again this season, telling Cliff Corcoran of Sports Illustrated:

"Shutting it down never entered my mind. I want to get out there. Obviously you want to be smart about it, but I definitely want to get out there and play. I don't like watching. I definitely want to be out there with the guys and out there doing what I love."

Mauer had been working on another stellar offensive campaign, batting .324/.404/.476 in 508 plate appearances.

The Twins may be increasingly selective about how many games Mauer sees at catcher. Mauer admitted as much to Corcoran, telling the reporter that his goal is to get back on the field this year, not necessarily return behind the plate. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire alluded to a possible change as well, telling Phil Mackey of 1500ESPN.com:

"It's something that we're all going to sit back and talk about...We've seen what happens to some players (after concussions), and it affects everybody different. As far as long term goes, always our goal is to keep this guy on the field. We're a better team when (Joe) is on the field."

The Twins traded first baseman Justin Morneau to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday, freeing up more at-bats at first base.

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