8/29/2014 12:35 A.M. ET
Mauer gets planned break for finale with KC
By Jackson Alexander / MLB.com
KANSAS CITY -- For the first time since returning from the disabled list on Aug. 11, first baseman Joe Mauer's name was absent from the lineup card on Thursday.
This was a mandate handed down by manager Ron Gardenhire before the Twins' series finale with the Royals.
"I told him 'no matter what, you're out. You're going to sit today'," Gardenhire said.
Mauer entered the game in the 10th as a pinch-hitter and drew a walk to load the bases, after falling behind 0-2 against Royals reliever Bruce Chen. Mauer scored on Jordan Schafer's two-run single that broke it open as the Twins scored six times en route to an 11-5 win.
Mauer went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in Minnesota's 6-1 loss on Wednesday. It was his first multi-strikeout game since July 1.
"I watched him last night, I thought he was dragging a little bit last night. He dove all over the place and about killed himself," Gardenhire said.
Mauer entered Thursday batting .288/.391/.475 in 16 games since returning from a strained right oblique that sidelined him for 34 games.
"He's going to have to have a break, he's not as young some of those other guys out there," Gardenhire said.
Plouffe secures Twins' doubles mark at third
KANSAS CITY -- When Trevor Plouffe sliced a double down the left-field line on Wednesday, he moved into sole possession of the Twins' franchise record for doubles in a season by a third baseman.
Plouffe usurped Corey Koskie (37) with his 38th double of the season in the Twins' 6-1 loss at Kauffman Stadium. The two-out hit in the fifth inning also broke up a perfect game by former Twins pitcher Liam Hendriks, who retired the first 14 batters in order.
"Honestly, the way I see it is, it's an honor to be talked to next to names like Koskie and [Gary] Gaetti. To me that's what's special about it," Plouffe said.
Plouffe slugged 18, 19 and 22 doubles in 2011, '12 and '13, respectively, while averaging 435.7 plate appearances per season. He accumulated 38 doubles in 480 plate appearances entering Thursday.
"More than anything else, what I've seen, is he's just taking what they're giving him," manager Ron Gardenhire said, while also introducing a maturation component. "It's just a matter of more experience at this level, and more confidence in his own ability."
Plouffe acknowledged some changes in his approach -- staying on the ball longer, spraying pitches to all fields -- but ultimately, he has not become a doubles machine on purpose.
"You don't go up there trying to hit doubles, it just kind of happens," Plouffe said.
• On Wednesday, the Elizabethton Twins (Rookie League) became Minnesota's second Minor League team to clinch a playoff spot this week.
Elizabethton beat the Kingsport Mets, 9-8, making it the first Appalachian League club to book a ticket to the postseason. The Twins can nab the top spot in the Appalachian League West with a win in either of their final two games against Kingsport. Class A Cedar Rapids also secured a Midwest League playoff berth on Sunday.
Triple-A Rochester's postseason aspirations took a hit on Wednesday as it fell, 4-3, to the Syracuse Chiefs. The Red Wings can no longer win the International League North, but they remain two games behind the Pawtucket Red Sox for the Wild Card. Rochester still has five games left on its schedule.
• Adam Brett Walker and Jose Berrios, of Class A Advanced Fort Myers, were named 2014 Florida State League postseason All-Stars on Thursday. Manager Doug Mientkiewicz joined them as a coach after he captained his team to a 41-28 record.
Jackson Alexander is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.