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Off-day comes just in time for Twins

Off-day comes just in time for Twins

NEW YORK -- Thanks to an off-day on Thursday, the fatigue appears to be fading for the Twins following a crazy 48-hour period in which they both advanced to the playoffs and played their first postseason contest against the Yankees. But the past few days have taken their toll.

A handful of Minnesota players were at Yankee Stadium on Thursday to receive treatment despite the team not having an official workout, and one of them was reliever Jesse Crain, who is dealing with a sore groin.

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Crain said that he tweaked the groin while pitching in Tuesday's 6-5, 12-inning tiebreaker victory against the Tigers. Playing catch before Wednesday night's Game 1 of the American League Division Series, Crain said he felt the groin bothering him again.

Manager Ron Gardenhire said that he didn't want to take any risks with the injury, so Crain was not available for Game 1. But the Twins hope to have the right-hander for Game 2 on Friday.

Crain didn't play catch on Thursday, saying he didn't want to push the injury if it wasn't necessary. He did some cardio on the treadmill and also some stretching.

"It felt better when I did all that stuff," Crain said. "Hopefully tomorrow, when I play catch, it will be a non-issue."

Among the other players getting treatment was catcher Joe Mauer. It wasn't anything away from the catcher's normal routine, but Gardenhire said Mauer took quite a beating over the two-day stretch.

"[Wednesday] he was a little more sore than usual," Gardenhire said. "You couldn't tell it by his swing, but he was a little sore. I think this is going to be a beautiful day off for him -- get some treatment, relax and he'll be ready for tomorrow night.

Division Series
Gm. 1NYY 7, MIN 2WrapVideo
Gm. 2NYY 4, MIN 3 (11)WrapVideo
Gm. 3NYY 4, MIN 1WrapVideo

"He's the one guy you really worry about. He's taken a beating, and then you play a marathon 12-inning game and then fly 'til 4:30 in the morning. Then he goes back out on the field. It's playoff time, yes, but he's still a catcher that just caught 12 innings."

The day of rest should also help the Twins' bullpen. Although Gardenhire had said before Game 1 that all of his relievers were available, he acknowledged on Thursday that many of them probably benefited from not having to throw -- including closer Joe Nathan.

Gardenhire said he turned to Francisco Liriano to replace starter Brian Duensing in the fifth inning in Game 1 because Liriano was one pitcher who didn't throw the day before.

"Hopefully this off-day will give us a chance to regroup a little bit," Gardenhire said. "This time of year, everybody says they're ready to pitch. Nathan needed it for sure. That was a bad thing we didn't get to use him, but also a good thing. I think they'll all be ready for [Friday]."

Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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