Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.

Mauer not in lineup for tonight's game against Angels

Posted by: Phil Miller under Twins game coverage Updated: April 30, 2012 - 8:59 PM

ANAHEIM, CALIF. -- Joe Mauer is not in the Twins starting lineup for the first time this season.

He took a foul tip off his left knee in the ninth inning of Sunday’s 7-4 victory over the Royals, and tonight, the Twins are facing C.J. Wilson, against whom, Mauer is 2-for-22 (.091).

"Just took the ball off the kneecap yesterday, a little sore, just going to back him off a day, and he’ll be ready to go," Manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He’s available for the ballgame, but he’s got a little soreness in his knee. No sense in messing around with him. So just back him off a little bit, and he’ll be ready to get a game-winner tonight."

Key matchups

A few other notable matchups for tonight's game:

Josh Willingham is 8-for-21 (.381) lifetime with two homers and Justin Morneau is 2-for-15 (.133) with one homer against Wilson.

Torii Hunter and Howie Kendrick are both 7-for-16 (.438) against Twins starter Nick Blackburn.

The Pujols factor

After 88 at-bats with the Angels, Albert Pujols is still looking for his first home run.

"We’re not going to talk about it; that’s how we don’t wake him up," Gardenhire said. "He may be off to a slow start, but he can snap out of it. Hopefully not tonight. Just give us three days to get out of here and we’ll be fine."

"We have our scouting reports, how you try to get him out," Gardenhire added. "He’ll kill you if you make mistakes no matter how he’s swinging. We’ll see if we can get the ball where we want and see what happens."

TWINS (6-15)

1. Denard Span, CF
2. Jamey Carroll, SS
3. Josh Willingham, LF
4. Justin Morneau, DH
5. Danny Valencia, 3B
6. Ryan Doumit, C
7. Trevor Plouffe, RF
8. Chris Parmelee, 1B
9. Alexi Casilla, 2B

Starting pitcher: RH Nick Blackburn (0-2, 7.53 ERA)

ANGELS (7-15)

1. Mike Trout, CF
2. Maicer Izturis, 3B
3. Albert Pujols, 1B
4. Kendry Morales, DH
5. Torii Hunter, RF
6. Howie Kendrick, 2B
7. Vernon Wells, LF
8. Erick Aybar, SS
9. Chris Ianetta, C

Starting pitcher: LH C.J. Wilson (2-2, 2.42 ERA)

Angels Stadium. First pitch: 9:05 p.m. (Central). TV: FSN. Twins Radio Network

Follow along on Twitter: @JoeCStrib

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