MINNEAPOLIS -- Right-hander Mike Pelfrey made a rehab start with Class A Cedar Rapids on Monday night, and if all continues to go well he's on track to make his return with the Twins on Saturday against the Blue Jays.
Pelfrey, on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 19 with a strained back, took the mound for the Kernels against Peoria. He gave up two runs on just two hits over six innings with six strikeouts and no walks. He also threw 70 pitches and reported no health issues after his outing.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said before the game that if everything goes to plan, Pelfrey's next start will be with the Twins.
"He's fine with his back," Gardenhire said. "Saturday is when he'll be here. He's eligible to come off on the Fourth but that's [Kyle] Gibson's start, so I don't think we're going to do that, and Friday is [Kevin] Correia's start, so we're not going to do that one. So Saturday."
'A little beat up,' Mauer out of lineup against Yankees
MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins catcher Joe Mauer was held out of the lineup on Monday against the Yankees with Ryan Doumit making the start behind the plate instead.
Mauer said he's not injured but is simply dealing with some soreness and is one of several Twins players battling a minor illness.
"I'm all right," Mauer said. "I'm just a little beat up and under the weather. I came in ready to go, but today was just a good day to take a breather here. I don't know if it's allergies or what going around the clubhouse but it's found its way to me, too."
Mauer went 0-for-15 over the weekend against the Royals and Twins manager Ron Gardenhire could tell that it was time to give Mauer a break. Mauer leads the Twins with 74 games played, including 50 starts behind the plate.
"He's fine to play, but I told him we'll just chill out here," Gardenhire said. "I thought he looked pretty draggy yesterday and we're going through a big stretch here. And if you're going to do it, do it against a guy like [Andy] Pettitte."
The Twins also don't have a day off until the All-Star break, which is another reason why Mauer started the game on the bench. Doumit, who is dealing with a sprained right ankle, also isn't ready to start in the outfield so he had to start at catcher while Josh Willingham is also being relegated to designated-hitter duty because of a sore left knee.
"We're in a big stretch here so this is the right thing to do," Gardenhire said. "I hate doing it at home, I've always said that, but he wasn't going to catch four in a row here at home. And Doumit can't play the outfield and Willingham can't go in the outfield so there you have it."
Willingham scratched, set for an MRI on knee
MINNEAPOLIS -- Josh Willingham was a late scratch from the lineup against the Yankees on Monday with increased discomfort in his left knee.
Willingham, who was slated to start at designated hitter, has been dealing with a sore left knee throughout the season and had a cortisone shot in his knee on June 15. He's scheduled to have an MRI exam on Tuesday morning.
"I tweaked again [on Friday] and it hasn't gotten better since," Willingham said. "I didn't run Saturday or Sunday, I only ran at like 30 percent on Sunday going into second base, and so before the game I went to go run and it just really bothered me."
Willingham was replaced at DH by Trevor Plouffe, who was originally penciled in to start at third base.
Jamey Carroll started at third in Plouffe's place and batted eighth. Willingham was originally supposed to bat third in the lineup so everyone behind him in the order moved up except shortstop Eduardo Escobar, who remained the club's ninth hitter.
Twins honor fallen Arizona firefighters
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins honored the 19 firefighters who died near Prescott, Ariz., with a moment of silence at Target Field before their game against the Yankees on Monday.
Commissioner Bud Selig asked all seven home clubs on Monday to hold a moment of silence in memory of the 19 men, 18 of whom were members of the Prescott (Ariz.) Granite Mountain Hotshots.
The tragedy occurred on Sunday near the town of Yarnell, which is 85 miles northwest of Phoenix. The fire, which was believed to have been started by a lightning strike, had consumed more than 8,300 acres and has destroyed about 200 homes, according to reports.
It's also being reported as the worst loss of life for firefighters since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, when 343 died at the World Trade Center in New York.
TwinsFest to be at Target Field for first time in 2014
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins announced Monday that they will host their annual TwinsFest at Target Field for the first time in 2014.
The three-day event, which allows fans to meet, get autographs and take pictures with current and former Twins players, will run Jan. 24-26 and will have new features special to Target Field. Ticket prices and additional details will be announced at a later date.
"We're excited to bring TwinsFest home to Target Field," Twins president Dave St. Peter said in a news release. "Hosting this at our ballpark gives us a chance to reinvent this great event, providing creative new experiences for our fans in a smaller, more intimate setting. And perhaps most importantly, the event again promises to raise significant proceeds for the Twins Community Fund and its many worthwhile programs."
TwinsFest, which was launched in 1989, has become an annual extravaganza for Minnesota fans. The Metrodome served as the event's home while the Mall of America and the National Sports Center have also previously hosted the event.
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. Kelly Erickson is an associate reporter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.