CLEVELAND -- Twins first baseman Joe Mauer was out of the lineup for the second straight day on Tuesday.
Mauer left Sunday's game with back spasms, and he not sure of when he can return to the lineup. But after Tuesday's 4-2 loss to the Indians, Mauer said he is seeing some important signs of progress.
"I was able to put on my shoes today, so that was a bonus," Mauer said. "It's moving in the right direction."
Minnesota's training staff has put Mauer through a heavy regimen of stretching and warm compress since Sunday, but he still has not performed any baseball activity.
"If I come in tomorrow feeling good, I might be able to get out in the field and do some baseball stuff, which will be good," Mauer said. "It still hasn't changed. It's day to day. I'd like to get a bat in my hand ... before I get out there and compete."
Mauer had back pain prior to Sunday's series finale against the Orioles, but he hoped to play through it. In the third inning, though, Minnesota's All-Star first baseman knew something more serious was afoot.
"During the game when I came out, we tried to calm it down as best we could," Mauer said. "When I was swinging in BP, I noticed it was dragging a little bit. When I tried to get ready for the game, it came out pretty hard. I tried to stay out there and tried to get it loose, but the more I did, the more I aggravated it."
Chris Colabello has played first base in Mauer's absence, but made an error that led to a run on Tuesday.
Santana gets first start night after debut
CLEVELAND -- Danny Santana's first big league start comes one night after his Major League debut.
All he has done since joining the roster is make his manager's heart beat faster.
Santana came on as a pinch-runner in the seventh inning of Monday's 1-0 win, and when he stepped to the plate in the 10th inning, he got his first career hit. Santana was at shortstop Tuesday, but skipper Ron Gardenhire considered something really outside the box for Santana's debut.
"I even thought about starting him in left and putting [Jason] Kubel as the DH," Gardenhire said. "That one made my heart go up a little too high, so I decided shortstop's a little better. His first start in the big leagues probably should be somewhere he's played at least once."
Santana took fielding practice in left field on Tuesday and played some outfield in the lower levels of the Minor Leagues, but the infield is where he has played more recently.
On Monday, Santana's debut got interesting quickly when he was almost picked off at second base in the seventh inning when catcher Yan Gomes threw to Asdrubal Cabrera. Santana beat Cabrera's tag, and Tribe manager Terry Francona challenged the call, which stood.
"When he was going for the pickoff to second base, I was a little scared he'd throw me out," Santana said. "But after that, I wasn't nervous [anymore]."
The play had the opposite effect on Gardenhire.
"He got into it then, but that's when I started to get nervous, when he almost got picked off," Gardenhire said. "But he can run."
Highly patient Twins not changing approach
CLEVELAND -- The Twins left 10 runners stranded on Monday night, often because they were watching third strikes from Zach McAllister and the Indians' bullpen.
Indians pitchers caught Twins hitters looking six times on Monday. With the Twins second in the Majors with 143 walks heading into Tuesday, Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire expressed concern that some guys might be looking to take more pitches.
But he said Monday's strikeouts were more about McAllister and the bullpen.
"We've struck out some, and we've taken some pitches, but I thought [McAllister] was locating the ball pretty doggone good," Gardenhire said. "His fastball was really moving coming back over the plate. I thought he did a real nice job making pitches with those two-strike counts."
Left fielder Jason Kubel watched strike three on both of his strikeouts Monday. For his part, Kubel said he doesn't feel the team's approach is too passive.
"I'm never looking to walk or not be aggressive," Kubel said. "There might be times. I had an at-bat yesterday where I let two fastballs go down the middle for strikes. I was just trying to see it, trying to get my timing down.
"It hurts me some ways, but some ways it doesn't. Overall, it works out."
• Samuel Deduno made it back to the rotation on Tuesday, but he wasn't turned loose to rack up the same kind of pitch count that Kyle Gibson did in Monday's win.
Gibson checked out after throwing 100 pitches, but that's not in the cards for Deduno, who had shoulder surgery last September and came out of the bullpen to return to the rotation.
"Probably somewhere around 75," Gardenhire said. "It's just going to depend on how he's doing, how it's going."
• Twins outfielder Josh Willingham, on the DL with a left wrist contusion, hit balls off a tee on Tuesday and experienced no issues with his wrist.
• Pitcher Mike Pelfrey, nursing a strained groin, threw a bullpen session on Tuesday and reported no issues.
• Outfielder Aaron Hicks, on the seven-day concussion DL since Friday, did some light swinging and experienced no problems on Tuesday.
Stephen Ellsesser is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.