The Twins placed Joe Mauer on the 10-day disabled list Friday with the hope that he will be ready to return his first day eligible to come back. That’s July 15, the second game after the Twins return from the All-Star break at Houston.

Mauer has a lower lumbar strain in his back, manager Paul Molitor said, and the injury happened when Mauer was running the bases Tuesday against the Angels. This is Mauer’s first time on the DL since 2014, when he had a right oblique strain.

“We can take advantage of the break and use the disabled list to get him ready and strong and recharged for the second half,” Molitor said. “Is there any really logic to forcing him [Saturday] or Sunday? It just didn’t make a lot of sense. We were playing a little bit shorthanded as it was.

“He’s doing better [Friday] than [Thursday], and hopefully he continues to do better than he was, and we can get him ready for Houston with a good workout on Friday and he’ll be eligible for the second game.”

In Mauer’s place, the Twins brought back Kennys Vargas from Class AAA Rochester and started him at first base.


• Lefthander Hector Santiago (back injury) had a magnetic resonance imaging exam that showed no structural damage, the Twins announced. Santiago is rehabbing but not throwing yet.

• The Twins spent all but $66,000 of their allotted $14.1 million bonus pool for the June draft. They signed every pick from the first 10 rounds, but Friday’s deadline passed without them inking any of their three unsigned players from rounds 11-20.

• lists Miguel Sano as a 12-to-1 shot to win Monday’s Home Run Derby in Miami. The favorites are Giancarlo Stanton (7-5) and Aaron Judge (7-4), followed by Cody Bellinger (6-1), Sano, Charlie Blackmon (14-1), Mike Moustakas (14-1), Justin Bour (14-1) and Gary Sanchez (16-1). Sano faces Moustakas in the quarterfinals, with the winner facing either Stanton or Sanchez.

Star Tribune staff writer La Velle E. Neal III contributed to this notebook.

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