The temptation to leave Joe Mauer in the lineup every day has never been greater for Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire, with the reigning A.L. batting champion getting a hit nearly every other at-bat and averaging a home run every eight at-bats.
But overusing the two-time All-Star catcher is not a risk worth taking for the Twins. He was supposed to have a full day off Monday but still found his way into the lineup as a pinch-hitter and homered against Boston Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth inning.
It wasn’t enough as the Twins lost 6-5.
Mauer hadn’t been off in two weeks, and Monday appeared to be a good day to rest him following a night game on Sunday.
Mauer has ignited the Minnesota lineup with uncharacteristic power – 11 home runs in just 81 at-bats this month – plus his usual prowess at working the count and finding his way to first base.
But for a guy who’s had trouble keeping his lower body healthy while playing such a dangerous, grinding position, well, there comes a time when he has to come out – no matter how well he’s swinging.
“It’s really, really hard to sit him down, but you have to,” Gardenhire said. “You just can’t take a chance and wear him out.”
Angels activate Vlad
The Los Angeles Angels activated slugger Vladimir Guerrero from the disabled list and optioned outfielder Reggie Willits to Triple-A Salt Lake.
Guerrero, who possesses one of the strongest throwing arms in the game, has yet to play right field this season because of a torn pectoral muscle on the right side of his chest. He first felt discomfort after making a throw during an exhibition game April 2 at Dodger Stadium.
Clearing the bases
Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Akinori Iwamura will miss the rest of the season with a torn ligament in his left knee suffered on Sunday. …Manager Joe Maddon has agreed to a three-year contract extension with Tampa Bay that runs through 2012. … Cleveland Indians right-hander Anthony Reyes may need season-ending surgery on his right elbow. An MRI on Reyes’ elbow by team physician Dr. Mark Schickendantz revealed an inflamed ulnar nerve.
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