Mauer takes scheduled day off Tuesday
All-Star catcher is available off the bench vs. Toronto
TORONTO -- Twins catcher Joe Mauer was not in the lineup against the Blue Jays on Tuesday night, but it was the result of a scheduled day off, manager Ron Gardenhire said.Gardenhire plans to give a full day off to Mauer, who went 3-for-5 in Monday's 6-3 victory over the Blue Jays, during this road trip. According to Gardenhire, this seemed like the right time and he told Mauer after Monday's win that Tuesday would be his day of rest with Mike Redmond catching the contest. But Mauer is available off the bench if needed. The Twins manager said that he is also considering using Mauer as the designated hitter for Wednesday's game and having Jose Morales catch in order to give Mauer a two-day break from behind the plate. "There are lots of long stretches of games here and you get to the point [where] he needs a break," Gardenhire said. "If we DH him tomorrow then he's got a few days to take the beating off the legs, the knees, the back, the whole thing. We'll see." With off-days scheduled in each of the next two weeks, Gardenhire hopes that this might be the last time that he does not start Mauer. Otherwise, he plans to use Mauer as the DH on days he might need a slight rest from his catching duties. Gardenhire acknowledged that it's never easy to sit his catcher, who is currently batting a Major League-leading .369, but at times it's necessary. "Joe wants to be out there, and you have to protect him like you need to protect [Justin Morneau] the rest of the way here too, with his back," Gardenhire said. "We've still got a lot of games left and very important games. But if you beat them down to where they both don't function, then it won't matter."
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.