Mauer held out of lineup with back stiffness

MINNEAPOLIS — Joe Mauer was held out of the lineup against the Red Sox on Friday because of back stiffness, and is day to day.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said the injury isn’t serious, as Mauer woke up with a sore back and the decision was made to keep him out for precautionary reasons. Ryan Doumit started at catcher in his place and hit fifth.

“It’s pretty simple here — he came in with a stiff back and there’s no sense of him playing in this weather,” Gardenhire said. “[The trainers] said to give him a day here and we’ll go from there. I listen to what they say.”

Mauer has been on fire recently, as he’s currently in the midst of a 14-game hit streak. He’s hitting .446 (25-for-56) with 11 doubles and 11 walks over that span to raise his batting average to .349 with a .431 on-base percentage.

But he didn’t take batting practice before Friday’s game and his return for Saturday is still questionable.

“We’re hoping this is short-term,” Gardenhire said. “We’re hoping he can play tomorrow.”

With Mauer out, Chris Parmelee also made his first-ever start as the club’s No. 2 hitter. Gardenhire said he went with Parmelee because he sees so many pitches. He ranks third on the team with 4.19 pitches seen per plate appearance behind Mauer (4.28) and Josh Willingham (4.19).

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