TORONTO - Darnell McDonald on Wednesday singled in the ninth inning for his first major league hit since May 5, 2004. He was sent back to Class AAA Rochester after the game.
His replacement will not be announced until Friday, but indications are that it will be Rochester third baseman Brian Buscher, a Rule 5 pick from the Giants organization who began the year at Class AA New Britain.
Buscher, a lefthanded hitter, hit a three-run homer on Tuesday for the Red Wings; he was pulled Wednesday after two at-bats. He's batting .319 with six homers and 20 RBI in 34 games for the Twins' top farm club. He's decent defensively, but the Twins need some punch at the plate.
"It is a position player, we do know that," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He plays in the infield. Not in the middle."
Nick Punto has started at third base all season but is batting only .218. He has made several mistakes in recent games, including getting picked off base and failing to get bunts down. He was 1-for-3 on Wednesday but was thrown out trying to steal second base in the third inning.
The Twins couldn't wait for Rondell White to return so they could have their best lineup on the field for the first time since the first week of the season.
But when White joined the club on Monday, right fielder Michael Cuddyer was on the 15-day disabled list because of sprained ligaments in his right thumb.
"It stinks," said Cuddyer, who watched the Twins struggle against Toronto from the bench.
He feels obligated to be on the bench for games because "when my teammates have been on the DL, I've appreciated the fact that they've cheered for me."
Cuddyer, who can come off the DL on Aug. 2, hopes to shed the splint that's holding his thumb in place in a few days, but he won't get a real idea of how close he is to returning until he begins baseball-related activities.
"I only need one or two days of batting practice," he said. "It's not like I've missed a month."
Day games after night games often dictate different lineups, and the Twins' lineup card was revised throughout the morning Wednesday as Gardenhire checked on his players.
He initially had Jason Tyner leading off and in right field, Nick Punto at second, Jeff Cirillo at third and Joe Mauer as the designated hitter.
Then Luis Castillo entered the clubhouse and said he wanted to play.
Then Gardenhire checked with Mauer and decided that, after playing him in all 12 games since the All-Star break, it was time for his catcher to get a day off.
"It's the right thing to do," Gardenhire said.
So Gardenhire reinserted Castillo, moved Cirillo to first, Punto to short, Luis Rodriguez to third, gave Jason Bartlett a day off and moved Justin Morneau to DH.
With today's off day in Cleveland, Mauer will play all three games against the Indians.
White was given Wednesday off to rest his legs.
Catcher Mike Redmond played for the first time since Thursday, when he injured his left middle finger while swinging a bat. Gardenhire nearly had Chris Heintz called up as insurance.
Lefthander Dennys Reyes' streak of 17 scoreless appearances came to an end.