Joe Mauer back in Twins lineup

MINNEAPOLIS -- Joe Mauer returned to Minnesota's lineup Thursday for the first time since hurting his left knee 11 days ago.

Mauer was batting third as the designated hitter for the Twins against the Toronto Blue Jays. He last played Sept. 19, when he hurt the knee during a sixth-inning swing and was taken out of the game.

The Twins also put shortstop J.J. Hardy back in the lineup on Thursday. He played in only one of the previous eight games, bothered by a sore left knee and before that migraine headaches.

Designated hitter Jim Thome is still out because of a bad back.

First baseman Justin Morneau also ran around on the field and took early batting practice before the game, a step forward in his recovery from a concussion that knocked him out on July 7.