4/30/2013 10:35 P.M. ET
Ramirez starts at former home as Hicks rests
By Chris Vannini / Special to MLB.com
DETROIT -- Wilkin Ramirez's first game at Comerica Park was quite a memory.
As a rookie with the Tigers in 2009, Ramirez homered into the shrubs in left-center field, recording his first Major League hit in his first Major League game.
Ramirez started in center field Tuesday for his first game at Comerica Park as a visitor. He played 13 games for the Tigers in 2009 before Detroit traded him in July '10 to the Braves. He signed with the Twins in November '11 and made the big league club out of Spring Training this year.
As he returns to Detroit, he has fond memories of his short time with the Tigers -- and his only Major League home run.
"I look out there in center field and see that big water [fountain] where I hit my first home run. It's very cool to remind myself," Ramirez said before Tuesday's game. "It's exciting to see some of the players I played with and be back on the field."
Ramirez replaced Aaron Hicks in center field. Manager Ron Gardenhire wants Ramirez to get more work in center field as the backup, and considering Hicks went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts on Opening Day against Tuesday's starter, Justin Verlander, it seemed like a good time to put Ramirez in.
"If you're going to give him a breather, this might be the guy to give him a breather against," Gardenhire said of Hicks. "Ramirez needs to play some center field since he is my backup center fielder. This gives him some opportunities to get some at-bats and maybe give Hicks a breather here. He wasn't very successful the last time he faced Verlander.
"He faced him three times and struck out three times. That's not successful. Let him step back and watch a game, and let Ramirez get some whacks."
Mauer eyes two days off after facing Verlander
DETROIT -- Joe Mauer is the only Twin to play in all 23 games this season.
He also entered Tuesday's game hitless in his past five games. His 0-for-20 streak was the longest in his career, and a first-inning groundout made him 0-for-21.
Justin Verlander wouldn't seem to be a pitcher that could turn things around for him, but Mauer entered the evening with a .373 average against the Tigers ace -- the second-best all-time, behind Kansas City's Billy Butler. Mauer went 1-for-3 against Verlander in a 6-1 loss, snapping his hitless streak with a single in the third.
The Twins are off Thursday, but manager Ron Gardenhire would like to give Mauer a little more rest, especially after taking a foul ball off the arm Monday.
"Tomorrow's a day game, and I look at that, because of the off-day, as a chance to maybe get through tonight and see how [Ryan] Doumit is feeling," Gardenhire said. "He had a flu bug yesterday. We're trying to get him through that. But my goal is to maybe give [Mauer] tomorrow and have the off-day, back-to-back days. Get him through tonight, though.
"He's had success, and we need him in there against this guy, but yeah, we're trying to look to give him a couple days in a row. The way to do it would be the tomorrow --the day game -- and the next day."
Gardenhire was asked about moving Mauer out of the catching spot more frequently. Mauer has been the designated hitter five times and played first base once this year. If it means Mauer can be on the field more, Gardenhire would like to do it, but he knows Mauer wants to stay behind the plate.
"You talk about moving a person out when they want to move out of there, and Joe's pretty adamant that behind the plate is where he likes to be," Gardenhire said. "We're a better team with him behind the plate, no doubt about it, but I also understand, as a manager, that my goal is to keep him on the field. If you look at all the catchers, they get more days off than most guys. We're lucky Joe can play first base, I'm able to put him at DH and give him plenty of breaks.
"I know he said he'd like to catch 120-plus this year, but I just want to see him playing out there about 140 times, whether it's DH, first base, a little bit of catching. We'll give him a few days off, but keeping him on the field is important. Right now, he feels great."
Arcia impresses Gardenhire in early going
DETROIT -- Rookie outfielder Oswaldo Arcia recorded the first multi-hit game of his career Monday, going 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI.
Arcia, ranked by MLB.com as the Twins' No. 5 prospect, has recorded a hit in each of his past four games and six of his past seven. He was called up on April 15, when Wilkin Ramirez went on paternity leave, and it wasn't clear how long he would remain.
After going 1-for-9 in his first three games, Arcia has quickly turned things on. He's 5-for-14 in his past four games, and manager Ron Gardenhire said he loves Arcia's fearlessness.
"He's swinging. He's not afraid. He's going to take some hacks," Gardenhire said. "It's pretty impressive. He hasn't seen these guys. He's going to get up there, try to get a pitch and take a whack.
"He laid off some really tough pitches yesterday. He battled, got in some counts and actually put the ball in play a couple times. Pretty impressive for a kid, but he's a strong kid. He can do those things."
Arcia was the Twins' Minor League Player of the Year in 2012, and he started his 10th game in a row for the big league club Tuesday, batting in the No. 7 spot and playing left field.
• Right-handers Cole De Vries and Samuel Deduno, and left-hander Rafael Perez all pitched in extended spring training games Tuesday with no problems. De Vries will start for Class A Fort Myers on Sunday for a rehab assignment.
Chris Vannini is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.