MINNEAPOLIS -- Joe Mauer got Saturday off behind the plate, but remained in Minnesota's lineup as the designated hitter. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said the four-time All-Star tweaked his ankle while beating out a throw to first during Friday's 10-6 loss to Detroit.

"He's fine," Gardenhire said. "He said he's a little sore."

Mauer's bat has been heating up lately. He is hitting .360, with six doubles and a .484 on-base percentage over his last 14 games.

"We need his bat in the lineup, he knows that," Gardenhire said.

In place of Mauer, Drew Butera was penciled in to catch starter Carl Pavano. Fellow catcher Ryan Doumit is "really close" to a full return, after straining his right calf on May 16, Gardenhire said, but he was available to pinch-hit in Saturday's game.

"When you're playing this game every day, you're going to get little nagging things," Gardenhire said. "Every team is a little bit beat up here and there. You have to adjust."

Liriano headed back to Twins' rotation

MINNEAPOLIS -- Francisco Liriano is headed back to the Twins' rotation.

Following five relief appearances after struggling in six starts to begin the season, the left-hander will take right-hander Anthony Swarzak's spot in the rotation and will start on Wednesday against the A's at Target Field.

"I'm just looking forward to the start," Liriano said. "I've always been a starter. It's what I want to do, so I'm pretty happy. So I'm looking forward to doing my job and getting better."

Liriano was moved to the bullpen after posting a 9.45 ERA in 26 2/3 innings as a starter. He fared better as a reliever, with a 4.91 ERA in 7 1/3 innings, but still had trouble with his control, as he walked seven and struck out nine.

He allowed four runs on five hits over 2 2/3 innings against the Tigers on Friday, but Twins manager Ron Gardenhire still saw enough from him that he wants him back in the rotation.

"We liked the way he was handling himself out there, and he needs to get back out there," Gardenhire said. "We need him in our rotation. We can't just keep bouncing around from guy to guy."

Liriano said the move to the bullpen helped him get his mechanics in order, and also helped him clear his head after the rough start to the season.

"Mentally and physically I'm fine," Liriano said. "I stayed positive and didn't lose my confidence. So I'm just looking forward to Wednesday and trying to get better at everything."

Swarzak, meanwhile, will head back to the bullpen after giving up six runs over 3 2/3 innings against the Tigers on Friday. He was not at Target Field on Saturday, as he was home dealing with flu-like symptoms.

Blackburn set for rehab start at Triple-A

MINNEAPOLIS -- Right-hander Nick Blackburn is scheduled to join Triple-A Rochester on Sunday, and will make a rehab start with the Red Wings on Tuesday.

Blackburn, who was placed on the disabled list with a left quad strain on May 17, is expected to throw about 75 pitches in his outing, before making another rehab start on June 3.

"I'll get a couple of starts and we'll go from there," said Blackburn, who has an 8.37 ERA in eight starts. "Hopefully I won't feel anything in those two starts, and I can get back and start being effective again."

Blackburn also threw 90 pitches in a bullpen session on Saturday, and said everything went as planned.

"I threw a lot of pitches," Blackburn said. "I wanted to test everything out, but I got through it and everything felt fine. My release point was a little bit off, but health-wise everything feels great."

Burnett hopes to be back on hill soon

MINNEAPOLIS -- Alex Burnett should be pitching again soon after a minor setback.

The Minnesota right-hander threw a bullpen session on Saturday morning, his first since experiencing discomfort in his right elbow during his inning of relief work against Chicago on Wednesday.

Burnett said he experienced a shooting pain only when throwing his curveball. The injury wasn't serious enough to warrant an MRI. After a combination of anti-inflammatories and two days of rest, Burnett said he felt OK in the 'pen on Saturday.

He has compiled a 2.92 ERA this season over 24 2/3 innings.

"Today, I'm just going to ice and take another day off," he said. "And be back after it tomorrow."

Twins place Marquis on release waivers

MINNEAPOLIS -- Right-hander Jason Marquis, who was designated for assignment on Tuesday, was placed on release waivers by the Twins on Saturday, according to general manager Terry Ryan.

If Marquis isn't claimed in the next 48 hours, the 13-year veteran will become a free agent. The Twins tried to trade Marquis, but couldn't find any takers.

"It's not unusual," Ryan said. "We'll wait until the release waivers will expire. I expect he'll be signed, but I don't know by whom. But I suspect someone will sign him."

Marquis posted an 8.47 ERA in seven starts. The 33-year-old, who signed a one-year, $3 million deal before the season, struck out 12, walked 14 and gave up nine homers in 34 innings.