Mauer out of lineup, but not because of being hit by two pitches night before
MINNEAPOLIS—Twins first baseman Joe Mauer was not in Wednesday's lineup against Boston Red Sox left-hander David Price, but that had nothing to do with getting hit by pitch twice the night before.
"Little sore today, but it's all good," Mauer said. "It means you get on base twice. That's a good thing, but you don't want to take it on the jaw unless you have to."
With the Twins trailing 1-0 in the sixth inning Tuesday, Mauer squared to bunt with a man on and nobody out against Boston Red Sox lefty Chris Sale. Unable to elude a 95-mph fastball that deflected off his right wrist/hand area and bounced off his jaw, Mauer tossed his bat away in apparent disgust.
That wasn't because he was annoyed with Sale.
"Nobody likes to get hit," Mauer said. "It just got a little away from him. Their game plan is to throw me inside, and I think that one just got away, just like it did later, too (in the eighth against lefty Robby Scott). They're trying to pound me in to get me out away."
Scott brushed Mauer's torso with an 88-mph sinker—"That one felt a little better," Mauer said—to mark the first time in 1,773 big-league games that Mauer had been plunked twice. Among active players with 7,000 or more plate appearances, only Jose Reyes (11) has been hit by pitch less often than Mauer (25 times).
Mauer bunted for three hits last season but is still looking for his first bunt hit of 2018. With young third baseman Rafael Devers playing well off the line in the sixth, Mauer liked his chances.
"All I had to do was put barrel on it, and we've got first and second, nobody out," he said. "That type of situation, at that point in the game, it seemed like a good play."
Mauer, who was available off the bench, has 26 career bunt hits but just seven since the start of 2010.
When Jose Berrios tipped his cap to the appreciative home crowd at Target Field as he walked off Tuesday, it was actually his second such gesture on the evening. The first came as he took the mound in the first, when he acknowledged first-year Red Sox manager Alex Cora and Red Sox coach Ramon Vazquez.
At the 2017 World Baseball Classic, Cora served as general manager of Team Puerto Rico, for which Berrios pitched so effectively in a runner-up tournament finish.
"We are Puerto Rican," Berrios said after tossing 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball. "He's a good guy, a good friend, a good coach. He always wants to help us, but (Tuesday) night we were competing. It's different, but it's fun for me to play against a Puerto Rican. I tried to beat them."
Berrios, who also pitched for Puerto Rico at age 18 in the 2013 WBC, credits Cora with helping him handle his emotions on the international stage.
"He's a smart guy and he knows the major leagues," Berrios said of Cora, who spent 14 seasons (1998-2011) as a utility infielder. "During the WBC in 2017, he talked to us a lot and gave us a lot of advice, especially a lot of mental advice. That helped me a lot."
Deposed setup man Addison Reed, who made three postseason appearances for the Red Sox last October, was warming up for a possible pinch-hitter in the eighth inning Tuesday but sat down after the Twins took the lead with a four-run rally.
In the meantime, setup chances will rotate through a group that includes right-handers Trevor Hildenberger and Ryan Pressly as well as lefties Zach Duke and Taylor Rogers.
"There's no question that while we get Reed back to where we want Reed to be, I think he's getting a little antsy to pitch," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "I'm looking for a chance to get him in there."
Entering Wednesday, Reed had made a single two-out appearance since June 10.
Byron Buxton (fractured toe) served as the DH at Triple-A Rochester for a second straight day. After going 0 for 4 on Tuesday, he singled in three at-bats on Wednesday with a walk and just his second stolen base since fouling a ball off his foot on April 22. ... Mike Kennedy, Twins manager of communications and publications, left the club recently after six seasons. He plans to spend more time with his young family and pursue "career adventures" he's been considering for some time.