UPDATE: Twins manager Ron Gardenhire told Kelsie Smith of the St. Paul Pioneer Press that Mauer is more “week-to-week” than he is “day-to-day.” It sure sounds like he could hit the 15-day disabled list.
SATURDAY, 5:34pm: According to Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Twins catcher Joe Mauer has been scratched from Saturday’s lineup against the Indians with a bruised left heel. Drew Butera will start behind the plate, making his fourth career major league start.
The Twins have also recalled catcher Wilson Ramos from Triple-A Rochester, which might be an indication that Mauer’s injury is rather serious. Not serious in that he will need DL time, but enough so that he could miss the next two or three games.
Mauer, who inked a massive $184 million contract extension this spring to remain in the Twin Cities long-term, has a .345/.406/.500 batting line through 84 at-bats this season, but has hit just one home run and has collected only 13 RBI. By his other-worldly standards — and solely from a power standpoint — it’s been a slow start.
Orioles closer Zach Britton is likely done for the remainder of the 2017 season after receiving a stem cell injection in his left knee, Peter Schmuck and Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun report. Britton has been battling knee problems for most of the season.
The Orioles are still technically in the AL Wild Card race, entering play Thursday 5.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot. With only nine games remaining, however, the 73-80 Orioles are likely being realistic about their chances and not taking any unnecessary risks with Britton.
Britton, 29, put up a 2.89 ERA with 15 saves and a 29/18 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings this season. He will be eligible for arbitration for the fourth and final time this offseason.
The Dodgers staved off a four-game series sweep at the hands of the Phillies, winning 5-4 on Thursday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. The win reduced their magic number in the NL West to one, meaning that a win against the Giants at home or a Diamondbacks loss to the Marlins on Friday will result in clinching the division.
Of course, the Dodgers winning and the Diamondbacks losing hasn’t exactly been a sure thing lately. The D-Backs rattled off a 13-game winning streak from August 24 through September 6. The Dodgers lost 11 games in a row from September 2-11 and were on a four-game slide before Thursday’s win.
The Dodgers will send Rich Hill to the mound to start opposite Jeff Samardzija. The Diamondbacks have Zack Greinke opposing Adam Conley.