Miguel Sano was in the Twins’ lineup at third base for Friday night’s game with Houston. Then manager Paul Molitor talked with the rookie slugger. Now he’s got the night off.

    Sano revealed that he’s experiencing tightness in his right hamstring, and while he believes he can play anyway, his manager is leery of risking Sano’s health.

    “You don’t want to risk any long-term setbacks,” Molitor said of his decision to scratch Sano and play Eduardo Nunez at third base instead. “Sometimes you have to protect the player.”

    That’s his reasoning with Joe Mauer, too, especially with a tough lefthander — Houston’s Scott Kazmir — on the mound tonight. Mauer, who played every game on the Twins’ 10-game road trip, will sit out tonight as well.

    Sano, who hit five home runs on the Twins’ 10-game road trip and has 12 for the season, might be able to pinch-hit tonight, Molitor said, and after receiving treatment on his hamstring today, it’s possible he could return as the designated hitter tomorrow. “We’ll see how he feels,” Molitor said. “We don’t think it’s serious.”

   It wasn’t an easy decision, Molitor said, but the Twins have too many games remaining to risk losing their valuable rookie. The Twins’ lineup “feels different without him,” Molitor said.

    The Astros’ lineup is different, too; shortstop Carlos Correa, the presumptive AL Rookie of the Year, also has a hamstring injury and will miss his second game tonight.

    There is some good news about injuries, however; Glen Perkins “is moving around pretty good,” Molitor said, his sore back much better, and he could be available to pitch tonight. If so, however, it probably won’t be as the Twins’ closer. Molitor said he probably would not use Perkins to close a game until he demonstrates this his neck and back injuries are behind him.

    Here are the lineups for the first game of a weeklong homestand:

ASTROS

 

Altuve 2B

Lowrie 3B

Gattis DH

Rasmus RF

Gomez CF

Valbuena 1B

Gonzalez SS

Castro C

Marisnick LF

 

Kazmir LHP

 

TWINS

 

Buxton CF

Escobar SS

Dozier 2B

Plouffe 1B

Rosario RF

Hunter DH

Nunez 3B

Suzuki C

Robinson LF

 

Gibson RHP

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