Mauer takes light duty with tender hamstring

The catcher didn't start, but pinch hit in the ninth inning.

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Joe Mauer

Photo: Elizabeth Flores, Star Tribune

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Twins catcher Joe Mauer did not start Saturday because of a sore right hamstring and is listed as day-to-day. He did pinch hit in the ninth inning, making the final out in the Twins' 6-2 loss to the Brewers on Saturday.

Mauer reported the problem during the early innings of Friday's loss and was limited the rest of the way. The club decided to keep Mauer in a pinch-hit-only role Saturday, with manager Ron Gardenhire saying he would have used a pinch runner if Mauer had reached base.

"It was barking on him [Friday] pretty good," Gardenhire said. "He actually came in [Saturday] and said he felt a little better. He went out there and started trying to run and it grabbed on him."

Ryan Doumit started behind the plate Saturday while Josh Willingham moved to designated hitter. Justin Morneau, who missed Friday's game because of a sore left forearm, returned to the lineup as the first baseman on Saturday.

Plouffe gets props

Third baseman Trevor Plouffe didn't homer on Saturday -- he drew three walks -- but he's still on an impressive run of power hitting.

He entered Saturday with 10 home runs in his previous 14 games, including a homer in four games in a row. Since May 16, Plouffe's 13 home runs lead all of baseball.

His swing was broken down on ESPN Friday. Everyone wants to know how it's happening.

"It's hard to explain," Plouffe said. "I'm just trying to ride the wave as long as possible. I'm trying to help the team win. I'm putting good swings on pitches, laying off pitches, getting myself into better counts."

Fans now coo "Plooouuuffe" when he steps to the plate or does anything positive during the game. The Twins dugout is getting into it, too.

"The game is crazy that way," Gardenhire said. "It's in cycles and everything, and you just hope the cycle remains for a long time. It's fun to see him swing. We have a great view of it sitting right there. We get to hear the crack of the bat, see the ball fly. And he's sure is back-spinning the heck out of them right now. It's pretty amazing, to tell you the truth."

Pavano out until July

Twins righthander Carl Pavano has not pitched in a game for two weeks because of right rotator cuff weakness, and General Manager Terry Ryan said that it will likely be July before Pavano is ready.

Pavano has spent the time undergoing therapy for the soreness in the shoulder. "He's gaining strength and flexibility," Ryan said.

Pavano, 2-5 with a 6.00 ERA, has battled shoulder problems since the start of the season. He tried to pitch through it, despite a decrease in velocity, before being placed on the 15-day disabled list earlier this month.

Etc.

• Class AAA Rochester righthander Anthony Slama has a 0.40 ERA in 22 relief appearances, but he is going to miss six weeks because of a broken leg after being hit by a comebacker off the bat of Miguel Tejada last week.

• Jamey Carroll was charged with two errors Saturday. One was on a grounder in the second. The other one was a tough call, as he ran into foul territory after a foul ball hit by Ryan Braun in the fifth but had the ball tick off his glove. Braun homered on the next pitch.

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