La Velle E. Neal III has covered baseball for the Star Tribune since 1998 (the post-Knoblauch era). Born and raised in Chicago, he grew up following the White Sox and hating the Cubs. He attended both the University of Illinois and Illinois-Chicago and began his baseball writing career at the Kansas City Star. He can be heard occasionally on KFAN radio, lending his great baseball mind to Paul Allen and other hosts. Mark Rosen borrows him occasionally for WCCO-TV.

Mauer not in lineup for series opener at Cleveland

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: May 5, 2014 - 4:21 PM

Joe Mauer split time between the trainer's room and the workout room today, but is not in tonight's starting lineup after suffering through back spasms yesterday. But. the Twins say, Mauer has improved and remains day-to-day. He did not make himself available to the media before the game to explain just how much better he feels.

``He was able to walk in straight up, where yesterday he was kind of hunched over,'' Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.

Mauer, however, is not available tonight. So the bench consists of Eduardo Escobar and Danny Santana.

Aaron Hicks felt better today and played some catch and will try some light hitting. Josh Willingham actually took some light swings in the cage.

Cleveland has some roster issues. It had to place Jason Giambi on the 15-day DL today with a calf strain. Michael Bourn has a sore hamstring and is not available. But Yan Gomes returned a day early from paternity leave and is in the lineup tonight.

Jason Kipnis is on the DL with an oblique strain. Mike Aviles is starting at second tonight, but watch out for switch-hitting Jose Ramirez, who was called up to replace Kipnis and had been a sparkplug.

Pretty crummy weather this afternoon, with occasional hail falling. But they expect the rain to blow over and the game to start on time.

Twins (14-15)

Brian Dozier, 2B
Sam Fuld. CF
Trevor Plouffe, 3B
Chris Colabello, 1B
Jason Kubel, LF
Kurt Suzuki, C
Josmil Pinto, DH
Chris Herrmamm, RF
Pedro Florimon, SS

Kyle Gibson, RHP

Cleveland (13-18)

Nyjer Morgan, CF
Nick Swisher, 1B
Michael Brantley, LF
Carlos Santana, 3B
Lonnie Chisenhall, DH
Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
Yan Gomes, C
David Murphy, RF
Mike Aviles, 2B

Zach McAllister, RHP

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