Long night leaves Mauer on bench

Long night leaves Mauer on bench

ATLANTA -- With Tuesday night's game ending just before midnight because of a 76-minute rain delay and 10 innings of play, Twins catcher Joe Mauer was held out of the starting lineup on Wednesday afternoon against the Braves.

It forced the Twins to shuffle their lineup, with shortstop Pedro Florimon making his first start in Mauer's usual two-hole in the lineup, while Ryan Doumit started behind the plate. Eduardo Escobar started at third base for Trevor Plouffe, who before the game was placed on the seven-day disabled list with concussion-like symptoms. Escobar hit leadoff for the first time this year.

Brian Dozier, who has been slumping this month, moved down from his usual leadoff spot to eighth.

"Florimon has been having great at-bats and swinging good, and Escobar fits the profile [of a leadoff hitter]," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "So trying something different with Dozier at the bottom. And [Aaron] Hicks has been swinging good right-handed, so I even thought about moving him up there. But I just left him where he's at to keep him comfortable. But with Mauer out, you always have to invent. It changes the face of the lineup"

Mauer, who went 2-for-4 on Tuesday, was available to pinch-hit according to Gardenhire.

"He's available off the bench," Gardenhire said. "And that's never a bad thing."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.