Mauer concussion symptoms appear to be gone
CLEVELAND — Joe Mauer had no particular thoughts on the fictional hometown of "The Office" after his first career trip to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he went 0 for 10 in a three-game rehab assignment.
"I didn't get to see a whole lot of it," the Twins first baseman said upon his return from the disabled list on Friday. "I saw the field. It was a short little stint, but definitely excited to check off those boxes."
Out since May 18 because of a strained neck and concussion symptoms, Mauer was immediately popped back into the leadoff spot against Cleveland Indians ace Corey Kluber, the two-time Cy Young Award winner against whom he entered the game hitting .314 in 51 career at-bats.
"Welcome back, right?" Mauer said. "Obviously, he's one of the best in the game."
Mauer said his concussion symptoms finally went away "within the last week." He sounded confident he had done all he could to prepare for his return.
"I've been having some good days, and we checked all the boxes off," he said. "I'm back here and I'm feeling good. I've got the full clear to go. I'm not going to play any different. I'm just going to go out there and enjoy the game."
At 35 with multiple concussions on his health chart, he has no plans to tread lightly in any facet of the game.
"My experience when you try to do that is you end up getting hurt," he said.
No weight goal for Sano
Miguel Sano was in Fort Myers, Fla., on Friday, where he was set to begin his multifaceted program with the Miracle after Thursday's stunning option to Class A. There is no set weight or body-fat goal for Sano to reach.
"I think there's a risk in just saying a number," Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey said. "We wouldn't necessarily go down that path. I think, with baseball players, there's a wide variation. We just want him to be strong and healthy."
How will the Twins know when Sano, who will go on some road trips with the Miracle, is ready to be recalled?
"We'll just assess it week to week," Falvey said. "We'll watch video and make sure we get a good sense. It's going to be fluid. Whether he stays in Florida or goes to a different affiliate, we're not going to be firm on that."
Sano's salary reverts from the $602,500 he was earning in the majors to his minor league rate of $286,300. He will still become eligible for salary arbitration for the first time this winter.
Polanco cuts finger
Shortstop Jorge Polanco slammed his throwing hand in a car door and suffered a cut on his finger that will push back the start of his 15-day rehab assignment. Originally set for Sunday ahead of his July 2 return date from an 80-game steroid suspension, Polanco now must allow his finger to heal before resuming baseball activity.
Regardless of his availability, he will return from the restricted list on July 2 and will again draw a big-league salary, even if he's placed on the 10-day disabled list.
Dozier down in batting order
While Mauer was upbeat about his 12th start in the leadoff spot — "I guess it's growing on me," he said — Brian Dozier was dropped to fifth for the first time in two years.
"I talked to him about it; I'm hoping he gets more chances with runners on base," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "I know leading off is probably his first choice, but sometimes you've got to make a change."
In 11 career starts as the No. 5 hitter, Dozier entered Friday batting .410 and slugging .584 in 48 plate appearances. That 1.043 combined on-base/slugging percentage was his highest in any lineup spot.
"Small sample size," Dozier said. "I've never really hit there, so whatever I did, I don't remember it."
Dozier entered 7 for 47 (.149) with 14 strikeouts and two homers off Kluber.
Super utility man Taylor Motter was recalled from Triple-A Rochester along with Mauer. Claimed off waivers from the Seattle Mariners last month, Motter hit a combined .190 in 50 games in Triple-A this year. ... Right-hander Ervin Santana, limited to two minor league starts this season following finger surgery, threw a bullpen and played catch Thursday in Fort Myers.