After 16 games with the same top four hitters atop his batting order, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has made a change for tonight's game. Joe Mauer will be in the dugout, while Chris Parmelee plays first base in his place.
"He's only missed like two innings [since he returned from an oblique injury on Aug. 11], so I told him, 'You're out,' " Gardenhire said. "He missed so much time, you say, 'Boy, we need him in there,' but you know, he's going to need a break. He's not as young as some of those other guys out there."
The 31-year-old Mauer said he's sore, but OK to play, but understands Gardenhire's desire to keep him fresh. "You always want to be in there, but I know it helps in the long run," Mauer said. "I'm just trying to stay healthy."
His bat could probably use a break, too. After a hot start upon his return, Mauer is has one hit in his last 15 at-bats.
The Twins head to the airport immediately after the game to catch a flight east. They're scheduled to arrive in Baltimore a little after 3 a.m.
Here are tonight's lineups for their last game against Kansas City this season (they're 7-11 against the Royals):
A. Escobar SS