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Mauer on track to return to the Twins in Houston

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Minnesota Twins first baseman Joe Mauer is on track to return to the Twins next week in Houston.

Mauer, who played first base Wednesday night for the Cedar Rapids Kernels, has been recovering from the strained oblique that has kept him sidelined since early July.

Hard ball Talk reports that Mauer is scheduled to remain in Cedar Rapids through the weekend.

According to the Pioneer Press, Mauer developed some sore muscles in his return to action after missing more than a month.

"As expected, I was pretty sore all over," Mauer told the Pioneer Press. "The best thing is that the side I don't want to be sore isn't. It's everything else that is sore. I expected that, and it's OK."

Mauer was 1-for-3 with a run scored while serving as the designated hitter for the Kernels on Tuesday. His efforts helped Cedar Rapids to a 9-0 victory and he was back in the lineup on Wednesday and was 0-for-3, before leaving the game after six innings.

Mauer had a busy first day in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday. According to the Cedar Rapids Gazette, Mauer spent nearly two hours signing autographs for fans who came to Tuesday night's game. He also posed for pictures in the Kernels club house.

Mauer is hoping he can have a a strong finish to what has been a disappointing year. Prior to the injury, he had been hitting .271 with two home runs and 28 RBIs in his first 76 games.

Mauer is making $23 million this season. MLB Fan Graphs projects that given his struggles this year Mauer has been worth about $2.8 million.

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