Mauer gets a day off

Relax everyone, nothing is wrong with Joe Mauer. The time had just come when manager Ron Gardenhire felt that his catcher needed a breather and after Mauer went 0-for-6 for the first time in his career last night while catching 12 innings vs. the Rangers, today seemed like the perfect time.

I’ll have more on Mauer’s recent slowdown at the plate in a story a little later. But for all the emails I’ve been getting blaming the Home Run Derby for Mauer’s recent slump, here’s the reality — it goes back further than the All-Star Break.

So everyone just take a step back. Forget about all the concern surrounding the All-Star catcher and realize he’s still hitting .358 (yes, that’s impressive.)

News today….Kevin Slowey (strained right wrist) threw a bullpen session and felt good. He’ll throw another bullpen on Wednesday before flying to join Triple-A Rochester. Slowey will start for Rochester on Saturday and then a decision will be made on whether he needs a second start before rejoining the ballclub.

Joe Crede (mild strain of the AC joint in his right shoulder) is still sore, but the doctors expect the anti-inflammatory medication to help get rid of the soreness in a couple days. At that time Crede should be ready to get back in the lineup.

The Twins are facing left-hander Gio Gonzalez for the first time tonight. Left-handers have done much better against Gonzalez than right-handers (.455 vs. .316). So Gardenhire said he wanted to make sure to keep Jason Kubel in the lineup.

Twins (47-45)
3nd place in AL Central, 2.0 games back

Denard Span, LF
Nick Punto, SS
Justin Morneau, 1B
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Jason Kubel, DH
Delmon Young, DH
Brendan Harris, 3B
Mike Redmond, C
Alexi Casilla, 2B
Pitching: RHP Nick Blackburn (8-4, 3.06)

A’s (38-51)
4th place in AL West, 14 games back

Adam Kennedy, 3B
Orlando Cabrera, SS
Scott Hairston, CF
Matt Holiday, LF
Jack Cust, DH
Kurt Suzuki, C
Daric Barton, 1B
Ryan Sweeney, RF
Mark Ellis, 2B
Pitching: LHP Gio Gonzalez (1-2, 6.29)

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