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Twins' catchers wield cold bats

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sports Willmar,Minnesota 56201
West Central Tribune
Twins' catchers wield cold bats
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

By Jon Krawczynski, AP Baseball Writer

MINNEAPOLIS -- In search for any kind of offensive production from the catcher spot in the absence of Joe Mauer, the Minnesota Twins are swapping one struggling hitter for another.


The Twins added Rene Rivera to the 40-man roster on Thursday and called him up from Triple-A Rochester to back up Drew Butera.

Mauer is on the disabled list with bilateral leg weakness, and Twins GM Bill Smith said he is "doing well," but there remains no timetable for his return. With the three-time AL batting champion on the shelf, Butera and Steve Holm have struggled mightily to give the team any kind of production at the plate in his place.

Butera is hitting .111 with a .158 on-base percentage in 17 games. Holm hit .118 in six games, so the Twins sent him back to Triple-A.

"We just wanted to mix it up a little bit," Smith said. "He and Holm are kind of comparable. Ultimately we wanted Holm to get back there and get catching. He's got some things to work on and Rivera's going to come up and fill that spot, hopefully until Joe gets back."

Rivera hasn't exactly been on fire in Triple-A, either. He's hitting .200 with one homer in 13 games with the Red Wings. He was a non-roster invite to spring training who appeared in 53 games with the Seattle Mariners from 2004-06.

Before adding Rivera, the Twins had 39 players on their 40-man roster. That means that if going forward they want to add another player from the minor leagues, they would have to pass someone through waivers first. But the Twins felt losing that bit of flexibility was necessary to try and get some offense going.

Liriano's next start could be pushed back

The Minnesota Twins are considering giving Francisco Liriano an extra day of rest after he threw a career-high 123 pitches in his no-hitter against the White Sox on Tuesday.

Liriano's next scheduled start is on Monday against the Boston Red Sox. But manager Ron Gardenhire told reporters in Chicago that they may give the Dominican lefty an extra day and have him start at home on Tuesday against Detroit.

Liriano became the first Twins pitcher since Eric Milton in 1999 to throw a no-hitter. He admitted to be running on fumes in the ninth inning after the six-walk outing. But he said on Wednesday that he wasn't any sorer than usual.