Mauer to start rehab next week

MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer's sore back has improved enough for him to start running, and he is expected to begin a rehabilitation assignment next week.

Manager Ron Gardenhire says the reigning AL batting champ has been running the past two days. That was the big test he had to pass before the team deemed him ready to start playing in games.

The plan is for Mauer to continue taking batting practice, running and catching bullpen sessions in Florida for the rest of the week. Assuming all goes well, Mauer will start playing in some Gulf Coast League games next week.

After a 3-2 victory over Toronto, the Twins activated starter Scott Baker from the disabled list and optioned left-hander Brian Duensing to Triple-A Rochester.