Joe Mauer has been scratched from tonight's starting lineup after coming down with back spasms right before batting practice.

Mauer took the the field with the rest of the team and took part in the beginning of pre-game work when the spasms occurred. Ryan Doumit will catch tonight's game.

It's a tough break for the Twins, as Mauer is batting .425 against the Royals this season and .355 against them in his career.


The Twins spent about a month in fifth place in the A.L. Central before moving into a tie for fourth with Cleveland last night. With Cleveland at playoff-bound Texas and the Twins playing a Royals team they are 10-5 against this season, the Twins can take sole obsession of fourth if they win tonight and the Tribe loses.

Denard Span, during an appearance on KFAN this morning, said the team is playing for pride right now. That was evident last night as they got good pitching from Samuel Deduno and played aggressively. Span sounded determined to leave the disabled list on Wednesday and return to the lineup.

Some other pre-game appetizers:

The Twins have stolen 118 bases, their most since 2001, when they stole 146.

Joe Mauer leads all major league players in three-hit games, with 19.

Justin Morneau is batting .322 over his last 61 games

Twins lefthander Scott Diamond enters tonight's game with a 11-6 record. One more win will tie him for the third-most wins by a Twins rookie pitcher. Five others have won 12 in their rookie season, including Francisco Liriano and Glen Perkins. Jim Hughes owns the record with 16 wins in 1975.


Rigthander Cole De Vries had X-Rays yesterday on the area where he was struck by a line drive during Saturday's game. De Vries said the X-Rays, taken as a precausion, came back negative. De Vries is scheduled to throw in the bullpen on Wednesday but that is on hold now as the Twins wait to see how much he improves.

No batting practice today for outfielder Chris Parmelee, who is battling a slight groin muscle pull. But that's the least of this worries. His wife, Amanda, is due any day with their first child. So he's preparing to scramble home to California as soon as he gets The Call.

Royals (63-77)

1. Lorenzo Cain, CF
2. Alcides Escoabr, SS
3. Alex Gordon, LF
4. Billy Butler, DH
5. Salvador Perez, C
6. Mike Moustakas, 3B
7. Jeff Francoeur, RF
8. Eric Hosmer, 1B
9. Johnny Giavotella, 2B

Pitching: LHP Will Smith

Twins (59-82)

1. Ben Revere, CF
2. Jamey Carroll, 2B
3. Josh Willingham, LF
4. Justin Morneau, 1B
5. Ryan Doumit, C
6. Trevor Plouffe, DH
7. Darin Mastroianni, RF
8. Eduardo Escobar, 5B
9. Pedro Florimon, SS

Pitching: LHP Scott Diamond