Trevor Plouffe and Joe Mauer aren’t in the Twins’ lineup tonight. Mauer will be back. Plouffe? That’s another matter.
The Twins’ third baseman, his season already marred by a series of injuries, will miss at least two weeks and probably the rest of the season after suffering a strain to both his left oblique and left intercostal muscles while batting on Tuesday. The Twins have only 23 games remaining, and Plouffe will miss at least two weeks — but these injuries normally take 4-6 weeks to recover from.
“I don’t think there’s a very strong likelihood he’s going to play,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. But he’s not willing to rule it out, either.
As for Mauer, his legs have been sore since he suffered a strained quad muscle three weeks ago in Atlanta. He’s been trying to play with the injury, but he’s clearly been slowed by it, and Molitor has decided to give him the next couple of days to rest up and see if he can bounce back.
“Joe understands, like a lot of guys — when you can’t play, you can’t play,” Molitor said. “But if you can battle through things, at least let the manager know you’re available, you do that. He told me he wants to play when he can.”
The Twins, losers of 17 of their last 19 games, will try to salvage the finale of this three-game series with Kansas City, with Kyle Gibson on the mound. Gibson has had success against the Royals in the past; he’s got a 3.10 ERA in nine previous starts. But he’s 1-7 at home this year, and would like to change that.
Here are the lineups for tonight’s game:
A. Escobar SS
E. Escobar 3B