Joe Mauer woke up with a sore back this morning, Ron Gardenhire said, "just like we all have at one point or another."

It's nothing more serious than that, the Twins believe, and should go away on its own with a little rest. Gardenhire said his current plan is to play the three-time batting champ in Saturday's game.

But for today, the Twins are without their leading hitter -- and their hottest hitter, too. Mauer is on a 14-game hitting streak, just two games from the longest of his career, and is hitting .422 during the streak. He's also 5-for-13 lifetime against Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz.

It left a dilemma for the Twins' manager, since he doesn't have many natural No. 2 hitters on his roster. Gardenhire finally settled upon Chris Parmelee, who has never batted above fourth as a major leaguer, on the presumption that at least he sees a lot of pitches. Parmelee, who also gives the Twins a left-handed hitter between righthanders Brian Dozier and Josh Willingham, probably won't be called upon to bunt, Gardenhire said.

Vance Worley tries to win his second straight game tonight, and reverse an ugly trend: He has an 8.83 ERA at Target Field. Buchholz tries to become the major's third seven-game winner.

It's overcast and breezy at Target Field, but the rain seems to have passed, and the Twins -- but not Mauer -- are taking batting practice. The game doesn't appear to be in any danger.

Tonight's lineups:

Ellsbury CF
Nava RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Middlebrooks 3B
Drew SS
Gomes LF
Carp 1B
Saltalamacchia C

Buchholz RHP

Dozier 2B
Parmelee RF
Willingham DH
Morneau 1B
Doumit C
Arcia RF
Plouffe 3B
Hicks CF
Florimon SSĀ 

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