Rauch forced to sideline with blisters

Rauch forced to sideline with blisters

ST. PETERSBURG -- Reliever Jon Rauch left Tropicana Field prior to the game for the second straight day on Thursday because of the blisters on his hands.

Manager Ron Gardenhire said Rauch had hand, foot and mouth disease, a usually minor illness that causes a few days of fever and mild symptoms like rashes and blisters. Rauch left the team Thursday morning to go visit a doctor, much like he did Wednesday afternoon.

Gardenhire didn't know exactly how long the illness will keep Rauch unavailable, but symptoms usually last from three days to a week.

"If they found out what it is and he received the right medicine, he would be fine," Gardenhire said. "But as he came in today, he said it's no better and they didn't tell him anything yesterday at the doctor. So, he's going to see another doctor today."

Rauch will stay with the Twins as they travel from Tampa Bay to Cleveland, Gardenhire said, but he will have to await further word from the doctors to get a better feel for his recovery time and treatment.

Gardenhire initially explained Rauch's absence as an "allergic reaction" on Wednesday, and said he didn't know exactly how the right-handed reliever came down with the condition, just that it was a reaction to something and that the ailment is keeping Rauch from being able to grip a baseball like he would like to.

"I don't know if it's a nervous disorder," Gardenhire said, "But you get blisters -- little bumps and blisters. He's got them all over his hands right now. He just can't grip the ball."

Rauch's second straight day away from the team further depleted an already overworked bullpen that carried the Twins from the ninth to 13th inning on Wednesday night, leaving right-hander Anthony Slama and left-hander Ron Mahay as the only well-rested options.

"We're going to have to be careful," Gardenhire said.