Minnesota Twins All-Star Joe Mauer was out of the starting lineup for the third straight night against Kansas City due to back spasms.
Drew Butera started at catcher for the second straight game Thursday night. Mauer’s back tightened up before batting practice Tuesday.
Mauer, who appeared in just 82 games last season because of various ailments, had played in 131 of a possible 143 games entering Thursday, splitting his time among catcher, DH and first base. He is hitting .319 with nine homers and 76 RBIs.
Manager Ron Gardenhire said Mauer felt better but wasn’t ready to return.
The Twins said pitcher Cole De Vries will be sidelined for the rest of the season after an MRI Thursday revealed a cracked rib.
In his last start on Saturday, the right-hander pitcher six scoreless innings against Cleveland. He was hurt when hit by a line drive from Asdrubal Cabrera in the third inning.
De Vries finished 5-5 with a 4.11 ERA in his rookie season. Scott Diamond will take his turn Sunday against the Chicago White Sox.