FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Minnesota catcher Joe Mauer is back in the batter's box and crouching behind the plate, moving a step closer to returning from the lower-back inflammation that put him on the disabled list.
Mauer took batting practice Wednesday evening with a group of minor leaguers at the Twins' spring training facility in Florida, and hit a home run in the last round of his first BP action since last September.
"That last one felt pretty good," said Mauer, the reigning AL batting champion.
He also caught pitcher Scott Baker's bullpen session, though he said there still isn't a timetable for his return to the Twins. He has yet to resume running, the activity that has caused him discomfort all spring.
"I haven't gotten there yet. That will be the determining factor," Mauer said.
Mauer will continue with the same routine this week, practicing with the Class A Fort Myers Miracle. He had surgery to fix kidney blockage last December, and the back problem has kept him from running since.
Baker, on the disabled list with stiffness in his shoulder, will start for the Miracle in a game on Friday night and is on track to return to the Twins next week.