Ailing Twins stars recuperating in Detroit

Ailing Twins stars recuperating in Detroit

DETROIT -- Since the Twins captured the American League Central crown on Tuesday, manager Ron Gardenhire has taken extra precautions with his players that are nursing bumps and bruises. The same stayed true on Saturday.

Gardenhire said on Friday that catcher Joe Mauer wouldn't play during the series in Detroit, as he's recovering from an injured knee he suffered on Sunday. Mauer received a cortisone shot on Wednesday and did agility work with strength and conditioning coach Perry Castellano on Saturday at Comerica Park.

"He's feeling better," Gardenhire said. "He's out doing some little stuff out there with Perry today. He's getting some light jumping and running and moving around. But he's definitely feeling better."

Jim Thome was kept out of the lineup again on Saturday night. He was experiencing back tightness, and Gardenhire said there was no reason rushing him back into the lineup, especially with Saturday being a chilly night in Detroit.

"There's just no sense in it right now," Gardenhire said. "He should be fine. As he told me yesterday, he can go play through these things if he has to. But we really don't have to right now. I want to make sure we are OK. I think once you get to the postseason, we throw a lot of things out the window. The boys are going to play. But right now, we can be smart with something like this. He's feeling it, so you give him another day."

Starter Francisco Liriano, who exited in the fourth inning on Friday with a non-baseball related illness, said he was feeling much better on Saturday afternoon. Before the game, he was seen running the stairs at Comerica Park, which is his usual post-start routine.

Liriano said he was feeling lightheaded and dizzy during his outing. He believed that may have been because he was unable to eat in the days leading up to his start. However, the lefty said he was able to eat on Saturday and felt much better -- a good sign for the Twins, as they've named him the starter for Game 1 of the AL Division Series.

"I'm feeling much better today," Liriano said. "I've never felt like that before. But it feels better today."