No pitcher has been able to slow down Joe Mauer, but a stiff back will force him to the bench.
By TYLER MASON FS North
MINNEAPOLIS —Minnesota Twins catcher
Joe Mauer is out of the lineup on Friday for the series opener against the Boston Rex Sox. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that Mauer came to the park Friday with a stiff back.
"The decision was not to play him," Gardenhire said. "We'll see how he does through the night and check on him for tomorrow, see how it goes."
Mauer has played in all but one game this season prior to Friday. He enters the weekend on a 14-game hitting streak, the longest active streak in the American League. Gardenhire has been able to pencil Mauer into the lineup as the Twins' No. 2 hitter on a regular basis. Friday, however, the Twins skipper had to find someone else to bat second.
That duty will fall to right fielder Chris Parmelee, who will be batting second for the first time in 119 career major league games. Entering Friday, Parmelee is batting .204 with three homers and 10 RBI.
Parmelee said he thought he batted second a few times in the minors and used to be a leadoff hitter in high school. While he's been batting anywhere from fifth to eighth in the lineup this year, Parmelee said this won't change his approach at the plate.
Parmelee has also shown the patience at the plate that is needed in a No. 2 hitter. Prior to Friday, he has seen 4.19 pitchers per plate appearance, 14th-most among all American League batters.
"It's one of those things where it's been a first for me facing a lot of these guys, so I'm trying to see a pitch, maybe two, see what he's got to offer," Parmelee said. "As we start to play guys multiple times and I start to know certain guys, I might let it go a little earlier in the count."
With Mauer sidelined, Ryan Doumit is in the lineup as the Twins' catcher. Minnesota doesn't have another catcher on the 25-man roster, and Gardenhire wasn't sure whether Mauer would be able to play in an emergency situation. Mauer won't take batting practice Friday and will be reevaluated on Saturday.
"I think we all know you wake up with a stiff back; I think everybody in the world's done it," Gardenhire said. "It just so happens to be it's Joe Mauer, our catcher. It's just one of those things. You've got to deal with it."
Mastroianni to have surgery: Twins outfielder Darin Mastroianni, who has been sidelined most of the season with a stress reaction in his left foot, will have surgery Wednesday to repair a bone chip on the inside of his left ankle. Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said the early prognosis is that the team is optimistic Mastroianni will be back on the field in six weeks.
Mastroianni has played in just eight games this year and has made only two starts in center field. In 77 games with the Twins last year, he batted .252 with 17 RBI and 21 stolen bases.
Twins release Perez: Left-hander Rafael Perez was hoping to make it back to the majors after dealing with a shoulder injury. If he does, it won't be with Minnesota.
The Twins released Perez on Friday. He had been pitching for Triple-A Rochester this season after spending the first seven years of his career with the Cleveland Indians. In four innings of relief work with the Red Wings this year, Perez allowed one run and struck out two batters.
In his seven seasons with Cleveland, the 31-year-old Perez posted a 3.64 ERA in 338 relief appearances.