Twins offense comes alive; Mauer likely to catch

The Twins' dead-bat era ended in the third inning as they erupted for four runs and avoided being swept in the four-game series.

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Twins righthander Carl Pavano was on the mound Wednesday, so Drew Butera started behind the plate because the pair have clicked in the past.

Rene Rivera was the starting catcher Tuesday as Liam Hendriks made his major league debut. That made sense, since they have worked together at Class AAA Rochester.

Rivera and Butera have worked behind the plate for more than two weeks now. Where, oh where, is Joe Mauer?

He hasn't caught a game since Aug. 20. Wednesday's 5-4 victory over the White Sox marked the 10th game in a row where he started either at first base or DH.

"I'm still working through this illness," said Mauer, who went 1-for-2 with a walk and a run as the Twins ended a five-game losing streak. "I'm going to catch again."

Mauer didn't catch last weekend against the Angels because of an upper respiratory infection. He spent two days in his hotel room recovering, then was the designated hitter Sunday, swatting his second homer of the season. But he still sounded ill when he spoke with a reporter after the game.

His recent absence behind the plate has raised questions about how much he will catch the rest of the season.

Mauer said he is determined to get back behind the plate. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he expected Mauer to catch again during the upcoming weekend series in Detroit.

"Mauer can catch right now," Gardenhire said. "He's already told me. 'Whatever you want me to do, catch, DH, first base, whatever you want me to do.' It's just a better fit to leave him over [at DH]. I've got two other catchers. [Wednesday] is a Pavano night. When we get to Detroit, there's a good possibility that he'll catch one, maybe two."

Twins break out of slump

The Twins entered Wednesday having been shut out in their past two games. A third consecutive shutout would set a club record. They were in a 0-for-23 skid with runners in scoring position.

Their dead-bat era ended in the third inning as the Twins erupted for four runs.

"We needed a win desperately," Gardenhire said after the Twins avoided a four-game sweep by the White Sox.

Chicago's John Danks (6-11) walked No. 9 hitter Drew Butera with one out in the fourth, and Ben Revere followed with a single. After Trevor Plouffe struck out, Mauer was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Danny Valencia, who blooped a two-run single to right, ending the scoring drought.

"It's about time one of those landed for us," Gardenhire said.

Chris Parmelee then drove in two more runs with a double over center fielder Alex Rios, who took a poor route to the ball.

Pavano improved to 8-11 by giving up one earned run over 5 1/3 innings on 10 hits and one walk.

Gibson has surgery

Pitching prospect Kyle Gibson underwent successful surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.

Twins General Manager Bill Smith said Gibson will soon begin rehabilitation. Gibson will spend most of the offseason working out in Fort Myers, Fla., with an eye toward a return in 2013.


• Francisco Liriano (shoulder), Brian Duensing (oblique) and Scott Baker (elbow) all will throw in the bullpen Thursday. All three want to pitch before the season ends. Trainer Rick McWane said the final decision will be up to Gardenhire and pitching coach Rick Anderson, but added, "I don't think any of those guys are going to come back as starters."

• Infielder Alexi Casilla (hamstring) has been working out in Fort Myers, Fla., but will return to the Twin Cities on Thursday.

• Infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka missed a fourth consecutive game because of a sore oblique but should play in Detroit.

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