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Twins place Mauer on 10-day DL

Minnesota Twins first baseman Joe Mauer (7) fields a ground ball in the second inning against St Louis Cardinals earlier this week at Target Field. Mauer was placed on the 10-day disabled list Saturday, May 19, with a cervical strain accompanied by concussion-like symptoms. Brad Rempel / USA TODAY Sports

MINNEAPOLIS—Twins first baseman Joe Mauer was placed on the 10-day disabled list Saturday, May 19, with a cervical strain accompanied by concussion-like symptoms.

Mauer had been receiving treatment on his neck since diving for a foul ball last weekend in Anaheim, but balance issues and sensitivity to light forced him to be pulled from Friday's loss to Milwaukee. He went through tests, and the Twins are saying Mauer, who has a history of concussions dating to his time as a catcher, does not have a concussion.

To replace Mauer, the Twins called up outfielder Jake Cave.

"Any time you're dealing with any types of symptoms like this for any player you're very sensitive to it, but given Joe's history, we want to be more proactive with that," Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey said. "I would say that as of right now, I don't want to make any comments about long-term because we took a pretty cautious approach to this. We just want Joe to be in the right place when he returns. So we'll take it day by day."

Because of the light sensitivity concern, Mauer is staying home "for a couple days," according to manager Paul Molitor. Mauer said he hoped to miss only a day or two when he talked to reporters after Friday's game.

"Landed pretty hard, had a little whiplash," Mauer said of the dive for the foul ball. "Been coming in and getting treatment on it. I'm trying to get out there every day. Today I got out there and it started to stiffen up and getting a little worse, so talking to trainers and coaches, they thought it was best to get out of there before it got any worse."

Mauer has not sustained a concussion since he stopped catching in 2013. He told the Pioneer Press in 2016 that bright sunshine had triggered occasional blurred vision the previous two seasons. He has played in 591 of a possible 648 regular-season games since the move to first.

Mauer has hit .277 with 33 home runs and 252 runs batted in during that span.

"Since I've been here, he's just missed a little time," Molitor said. "But mostly he's been out there and communicating with him today, this is hard for him."

Falvey said Mauer's status to return includes a process with Major League Baseball, but he wasn't sure if Mauer has to pass certain testing to return.

"We're not saying at this time that Joe has a concussion," Falvey said. "We're saying he has some symptoms that mimic some of that. So we want to be really cautious."

Cave, 25, was to make his major league debut Saturday against Milwaukee at Target Field. He was to start in center field for slumping Byron Buxton. Cave, who was acquired from the New York Yankees on March 16 for right-handed pitcher Luis Gil, was hitting .265 with one home run and 17 RBIs in 35 games for Triple-A Rochester.

Sano starts rehab

Losing another top-of-the-order hitter is a blow to the struggling Twins' offense, but there is hope Miguel Sano could return soon from his strained left hamstring. Sano traveled to Rochester to start a rehab assignment on Saturday.

Sano was to play five innings as the designated hitter on Saturday followed by five innings at third base Sunday. If all goes well, he could return during the road trip that begins May 25 at Seattle.

"I'm hoping it goes well," Molitor said. "If he proves that he can be out there and running the bases and playing defense during that span, I think it will be a good sign that he's close to being able to come up and help us."