Twins' Mauer starts vs. Orioles as DH

MINNEAPOLIS -- Joe Mauer retured to the Twins' starting lineup Sunday for the first time in more than a week.

Mauer was the designated hitter against the Orioles and was batting in the third slot.

He struck out as a pinch-hitter Saturday night after missing eight games. Mauer bruised his left heel while running out a grounder April 30.

"Everybody tells me he's fine; he tells me he's fine. He's been running. The trainers, doctors, they all say he's ready to go," manager Ron Gardenhire said.

If all goes well, Gardenhire expects Mauer to be back behind the plate Tuesday when the Twins open a two-game home series with the White Sox. Mauer tested his foot by squatting in the catcher's position in the batting cage during the first game of Saturday's doubleheader.

Mauer is hitting .341 with one home run and 13 RBIs.

Shortstop J.J. Hardy, out since Tuesday with an injured left wrist, is not expected to play Sunday. Gardenhire hopes Hardy can return Tuesday.