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Joe Mauer left Sunday's game, a 6-3 victory at Cleveland, because of a mild sprain of his right thumb but said, 'I'm hoping to get back in there real soon.'

Mark Duncan, Associated Press

Mauer suffers sprained thumb

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN
  • Star Tribune
  • June 3, 2012 - 11:28 PM

CLEVELAND - Joe Mauer sounded optimistic about making a quick return to the Twins' lineup after leaving Sunday's 6-3 victory over Cleveland because of what the Twins called a mild sprain of his right thumb.

Mauer was listed as day-to-day. He went 1-for-3 with an RBI single, a walk and a run scored in his first four plate appearances as the designated hitter, leaving his batting average at .298. He said the injury happened in his last at-bat, a strikeout against Cleveland lefthander Nick Hagadone.

"I fouled a pitch back, and I felt it on that, and then it was a little worse on that last swing, too," Mauer said. "But the good news is it should only be day-to-day, so that's good."

Mauer, 29, has played in 52 of the Twins' 53 games this year after injuries limited him to 82 games last year. Sunday was one of the first times this season he's had to answer questions about an injury.

"Hopefully you guys [in the media] don't come up to me any more for that reason," he said. "But I'm hoping to get back in there real soon."

Rain shortens Blackburn's start

The Twins planned to have Nick Blackburn make two rehab starts for Class AAA Rochester, but the second one was shortened by rain Sunday, as he gave up one run on two hits and one walk over 2 1/3 innings.

Twins assistant GM Rob Antony said the team needs to weigh its options before deciding whether Blackburn needs another rehab start.

Manship could get start

Carl Pavano will have a second magnetic resonance imaging exam on his right shoulder Monday. His next turn to pitch comes Wednesday in Kansas City, but the Twins will wait to see his MRI results before naming a starter for that game.

"We have to see what happens with Carl but a likely candidate is probably like a [Jeff] Manship or somebody like that," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Manship's ready to do it, and we'll talk with the general manager and assistant general manager and we'll get it figured out."

Manship warmed up during the seventh inning, but Gardenhire said that was simply to get him some work between outings. The righthander went 4-1 with a 3.08 ERA in 12 games, including four starts, for Class AAA Rochester before getting promoted on May 27. He is 1-1 with a 5.67 ERA in six career big-league starts.

Dozier struggles on D

Brian Dozier had a rough weekend at shortstop. On Saturday, he played a one bouncer from Jason Kipnis into a hit, failing to charge the ball on a play that led to a run. On Sunday, he missed another makeable play on a grounder from Jose Lopez -- another play scored a hit -- before making two throwing errors that led to two unearned runs.

Dozier has been charged with six errors in 26 games at shortstop. At that pace, over 150 games -- a standard full season for an everyday position player -- the rookie would commit 35 errors.

"Today he worked like a son of a gun," Gardenhire said. "I know because I hit him groundballs. ... It's a process. He's a young kid. He's going to go through struggles. He can play. He can do some things."

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