ARLINGTON -- Jim Thome has performed well in a small career sample size against Rangers starter Colby Lewis, but Thome was not in the starting lineup to face Lewis in Minnesota's contest at Texas on Tuesday.
With Drew Butera serving as the personal catcher for Twins starter Carl Pavano, manager Ron Gardenhire said he had to slot Joe Mauer in the designated hitter spot on Tuesday night and leave Thome on the bench.
Thome is 4-for-6 against Lewis with a home run and five RBIs. But while Thome has strong numbers against Lewis, Gardenhire said that starting Mauer behind the plate in order to get Thome in the lineup was not really an option.
"Pavano's catcher is Butera," Gardenhire said. "There is no messing with that. They've asked for that, and it's what it is. So it's just one of those days that falls on a bad day for Thome because he has numbers. Mauer is not going to sit out. He needs to be in the lineup, too. We like to have him in there as much as we can. Sometimes it just works out this way."
Butera has caught each of Pavano's last nine starts, dating back to July 11, and entering Tuesday, Pavano held a 6-2 record in those starts.
So Gardenhire was asked what might happen if the Twins make the playoffs and Pavano pitches. Would Butera still catch in that situation or would Mauer?
"That's putting the cart before the horse," Gardenhire said.