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Twins Vs. Royals: Joe Mauer Out For Third Straight Game With Back Spasms

Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer will miss his third consecutive game while dealing with back spasms, as his team tries to avoid being swept by the Kansas City Royals on Thursday night.

Mauer has been relatively healthy this season after missing 80 games in 2011. As a result, he has seen his OPS increase over 130 points. However, the All-Star catcher has missed the entire series against the Royals, and it is not yet known when he will return to action.

Drew Butera will start at catcher in place of Mauer. It will mark just the third time that he has started this month, but will be his second start of the series. He went 1-for-3 in Wednesday's loss. Here are the full lineups:

Royals

1. David Lough RF
2. Alcides Escobar SS
3. Alex Gordon LF
4. Billy Butler DH
5. Salvador Perez C
6. Mike Moustakas 3B
7. Lorenzo Cain CF
8. Eric Hosmer 1B
9. Johnny Giavotella 2B

Twins

1. Denard Span CF
2. Ben Revere RF
3. Josh Willingham DH
4. Justin Morneau 1B
5. Trevor Plouffe 3B
6. Darin Mastroianni LF
7. Eduardo Escobar 2B
8. Drew Butera C
9. Pedro Florimon SS

The Twins will send Liam Hendriks, who is looking for his first career win, to the mound. He'll face Royals righty Luis Mendoza. First pitch is scheduled 7:10 p.m. CT.

For more on the Twins, be sure to visit Twinkie Town. Additional coverage of the Royals can be found at Royals Review and SB Nation Kansas City.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.