SEATTLE -- First baseman Joe Mauer is making progress with his strained right oblique, but he is not expected to be ready to return to action right after the All-Star break, Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said Thursday.
Mauer has been on the DL since July 2, and he is eligible to return once the All-Star break ends, on July 18. Mauer has been getting treatment on his oblique at Target Field but on Thursday had yet to start baseball activities.
"They're optimistic about his recovery," Antony said. "Things are going well. They're still trying to work on getting the soreness out of there. Until he does that he can't really get back to the things he needs to. So right now, there is no timetable."
Antony acknowledged that it was hard to predict how long Mauer would be out because of the nature of the injury. Antony said it could still be a while but that Mauer had gotten past some of the initial stiffness and soreness.
"I don't see him being ready right after the break as of right now," Antony said. "At first, when he twisted, he could really feel it. But now, he can get through all the exercises they need him to do. So it's not like he's really stiff and sore. He's been able to do the exercises and activities."
Twins eager for Morneau's Target Field return
SEATTLE -- Justin Morneau is heading back to Target Field.
Morneau lost out in the MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by Experian to Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo on Thursday, but he will still be returning to Minnesota to participate in the Gillette Home Run Derby on Monday at 7 p.m. CT on ESPN.
It marks the first time back to Target Field for Morneau since he was traded to the Pirates last August. He joined the Rockies as a free agent this offseason.
"I know it means a lot to him," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I know he talked about tipping his hat to the fans. Now he has a chance to play in front of the fans, so I'm happy for him. I wish he would've made the team. I thought that would've been cool to see him on that line. But coming back for the home run contest there will be a lot of people rooting for him, and we all know what he means to this organization."
Twins second baseman Brian Dozier, who is also participating in the Home Run Derby, was equally excited to hear that his former teammate would be joining him in the event.
"He deserves to be an All-Star and is one of the best first basemen in the National League, but at the same time, for him to be back at Target Field, I know the fans are probably more excited about that than anything," Dozier said. "It's pretty cool."
Morneau, 33, played 11 years with the Twins, winning the AL MVP Award in 2006 and being named an All-Star four straight years ('07-10). He also participated in the Home Run Derby in '07 and '08, winning the event in '08 at Yankee Stadium.
The Twins will get to see Morneau firsthand this weekend in Colorado for a three-game series against the Rockies before the All-Star break, causing Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony to joke that he would not mind seeing Morneau save his energy for the Derby.
"I'm glad he's participating," Antony said. "I know it was disappointing for a lot of Twins fans and lot of guys in that clubhouse were hoping he'd make that club. So it'll be good to see him back in Minnesota and Target Field. Hopefully, he does absolutely nothing this weekend and rests up."
Santana to start rehab in Gulf Coast League
SEATTLE -- Shortstop Danny Santana is scheduled to start a rehab assignment over the All-Star break by working out in the Gulf Coast League at the club's Spring Training complex in Fort Myers, Fla.
Santana, who has been on the 15-day DL since June 27 with a bone bruise in his left knee, will build his way toward rehab games with Class A Advanced Fort Myers. There is still no exact timetable for his return, but the Twins seem hopeful he will be back in the big leagues shortly after the All-Star break.
"I don't know if we can put an exact timetable for it, but he'll go down to Florida and work out in the GCL and/or with the Miracle," Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said. "He'll be able to go down there and work out and run around and test it and do all those things. As soon as he's healthy and ready to play, we'll get him back up to Minnesota."
Santana has already been working out and has started running at Target Field, but the Twins are trying to be cautious with his knee to avoid setbacks. Santana is likely to keep working out in Fort Myers before he gets into game action. He will probably need only a few games before he is ready to make his return.
"We can mix and match," Antony said. "He can work out in the GCL and then get into game action with the Miracle. Their schedule was probably most favorable for what we wanted to do."