Joe Mauer, who was not in the starting lineup Thursday for the second consecutive game, could land on the disabled list because of a sore lower back.

Mauer spent Thursday treating his back and seeing if he can help off the bench during the series against the Orioles, but indications are if he has not made significant progress by Friday, the club would prefer to shut him down now.

"We're going to take another look at Joe tomorrow and see where he is at with three games to go," Twins manager Paul Molitor said.

If Mauer is placed on the disabled list, it would be retroactive to Tuesday, when he injured his back while running the bases. He would then be eligible to be activated on July 14 when the Twins end their All-Star break with three games in Houston.

When asked if a DL stint is looming for Mauer, Molitor said: "I don't want to go there yet because we're trying to see if he's available to play this weekend."

Mauer is batting .286 with five home runs and 34 RBI. He ranked 20th among major league first baseman with a .763 on base-plus-slugging percentage entering play on Thursday. But he has the second highest batting average and the second highest on base percentage among the regulars and is a vital part of the batting order.

Miguel Sano started at first base for the second straight game in place of Mauer.

If Mauer lands on the DL, it will be his first visit there since May of 2014, when he suffered a right oblique strain. Mauer played in 134 games last season and 158 games in 2015.

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