Mauer lands on disabled list with neck strain
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins were hopeful first baseman Joe Mauer would be able to avoid the 10-day disabled list with his neck strain, but he began to have balance and sensitivity to light issues on Friday night. That led Minnesota to place him on the DL with a cervical neck strain and concussion-like symptoms before Saturday's game against the Brewers. Outfielder Jake Cave was called up from Triple-A Rochester to take Mauer's spot on the 25-man roster.
Mauer, who sustained the injury while trying to make a diving play on a foul ball in Anaheim on May 11, left Friday's game for pinch-hitter Logan Morrison in the fifth. He underwent the Scat-5 concussion test after the game, and Twins manager Paul Molitor said Mauer did OK on it, but they wanted to be cautious given his history with concussions. Mauer had a career-altering concussion in 2013 that forced him to move from catcher to first base and saw him suffer from symptoms for multiple years.
"The concerning part for us is some other symptoms yesterday that involved some balance issues and light sensitivity and things that didn't sound good," Molitor said. "So we ran through the protocol last night, and there was no definitive answer there as far as what exactly is ongoing. But given his history and the fact that we're already playing short-handed, it looks to me like it's gonna be at least a few days. So we're gonna go ahead and shut him down and just give him a chance to get well."
Mauer is remaining home for the next few days until the symptoms subside. The Twins have been cautious to label it as concussion-like symptoms instead of a definitive concussion.
"Any time you're dealing with any types of symptoms like this for any player, you're very sensitive to it, but given Joe's history we want to be more proactive with that," Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey said. "I would say that as of right now, I don't want to make any comments about long-term because we took a pretty cautious approach to this. We just want Joe to be in the right place when he returns. So we'll take it day by day."
With Mauer out, Morrison will serve as the regular first baseman. Catcher Mitch Garver and utility infielder Ehire Adrianza have experience at the position, while Max Kepler played first in the Minors.
Cave, who was acquired by the Twins for Minor League right-hander Luis Gil in a trade with the Yankees on March 16, was called up for the first time in his career. He was hitting .265/.355/.356 with a homer and seven doubles in 35 games with Triple-A Rochester. He was in Saturday's lineup, starting in center field and hitting seventh.
In the fourth inning of the Twins' 5-4 loss on Saturday, Cave crushed the first pitch he saw from Brewers starter Freddy Peralta for his first Major League hit, a two-run home run.
• Cave's 1st MLB hit an echoing 2-run HR
"There are a lot of emotions -- I'm super excited and ready to go," Cave said before the game. "I feel great. I've been heating up lately and starting to swing it. I'm just looking to keep that rolling into here."
The 25-year-old left-handed hitter is coming off a breakout season that saw him hit .305/.351/.542 with 20 homers and 26 doubles in 103 games between Double-A and Triple-A last year.
"We got a little bit of a look from him in the spring," Molitor said. "I think last year Jake made some changes in his approach and tried to address being more of a power-type threat. And he was rewarded with probably his best Minor League season. He's played around down there in Triple-A, primarily in the corners, but I know he can play center."
Sano begins rehab assignment
The Twins laid out their plans for third baseman Miguel Sano's rehab assignment with Triple-A Rochester. After serving as designated hitter on Saturday, he'll play five innings at third on Sunday, DH on Monday, play seven innings at third on Tuesday and play a full nine innings on Wednesday. Sano, who has been on the DL with a left hamstring strain since May 1, could rejoin the Twins for their road trip that begins on Friday in Seattle.
"I'm hoping it goes well," Molitor said. "If he proves that he can be out there and running the bases and playing defense during that span, I think it will be a good sign that he's close to being able to come up and help us."