Gomez's injury forces Twins to juggle

Gomez's injury forces Twins to juggle

CLEVELAND -- It's never a good thing to lose your leadoff hitter, but Carlos Gomez's injuries have come at a most inopportune time for the Twins.

Minnesota is in a stretch where it faces a left-handed starter five times in seven games. It started Friday -- the night Gomez suffered a bruised lower back and tail bone crashing into the wall making a spectacular catch -- against Cliff Lee. The Twins faced Jeremy Sowers on Sunday.

Manager Ron Gardenhire's club will go against three lefties in its four-game series against Chicago that begins Monday. The Twins will go against Mark Buehrle, Clayton Richard and John Danks.

Gardenhire doesn't know when Gomez and his right-handed bat in the leadoff spot will return to the lineup. "He's better today than yesterday, but he's still really sore," Gardenhire said. "He seemed to be walking around better, but as far as running, I don't think so."

Gomez's absence has caused Gardenhire to do some juggling when it comes to making out his lineup. Denard Span batted leadoff against Sowers and played center field. Although Span was 12-for-26 (.462) against lefties coming into the game, that's still a small sampling of at-bats.

Jason Kubel started in right field Sunday, but he began the day hitting .167 (9-for-54) against left-handers. Brian Buscher, who hit a three-run homer and drove in five runs against right-hander Fausto Carmona Saturday night, is batting .150 (3-for-20) against lefties, but will see some playing time.

"He s going to get a whack at them," Gardenhire said.

While catcher Joe Mauer didn't start Sunday, Justin Morneau was at his familiar first-base spot and Craig Monroe was the DH.

"I would like to put Morneau at DH, but I have to put Kubel in right," Gardenhire said. "Monroe hasn't been out there in awhile, and this is a big right field here."

Steve Herrick is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.