Tagged: Joe Mauer

SI Cover boy, Joe Mauer and Tuesday Lineups: Twins at Brewers

Thumbnail image for SICover_062909_JoeMauer.jpgBefore I get into today’s baseball news, a little note to Twins fans to check out this week’s Sports Illustrated. Joe Mauer is donning the cover for the second time (he also did so in Aug. 2006). Tom Verducci explores the catcher’s chances of becoming the first player to hit .400 since Ted Williams did in 1941.

As for Twins news today in Milwaukee, manager Ron Gardenhire had to wait a little while to post his lineup today as he was checking up on the health status of a few players. Justin Morneau is back in the lineup after getting a day off on Sunday due to “general soreness.” Nick Punto also returns after missing Sunday’s game with bruised right ribs. Jason Kubel, who left Sunday’s game with flu-like symptoms, is not in the lineup with what the team is calling “general illness.”

The Twins got positive news on Denard Span, who went 1-for-4 in his first rehab game with Triple-A Rochester on Monday night. Gardenhire said that Span didn’t have any recurrences of dizziness, so it sounds like he’ll be activated on Thursday as expected.. (That is of course if everything goes OK in the outfielder’s second rehab game tonight).

The newest member of the Twins bullpen, Bobby Keppel, is also here at Miller Park. He’s expected to be another option for the sixth or seventh inning now that Luis Ayala is no longer there. Speaking of Ayala, Gardenhire let it be known today that the reliever asked for a trade three weeks ago and that helped lead to his departure. More on that later.

Here are today’s lineups:

Twins
Carlos Gomez, CF
Brendan Harris, SS
Joe Mauer, C
Justin Morneau, 1B
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Joe Crede, 3B
Delmon Young, LF
Nick Punto, 2B
Francisco Liriano, P

Brewers
Jason Kendall, C
Casey McGehee, 2B
Ryan Braun, LF
Prince Fielder, 1B
Corey Hart, RF
Mike Cameron, CF
J.J. Hardy, SS
Bill Hall, 3B
Jeff Suppan, P

Joe Mauer gets a rest

Joe Mauer has been battling cold and flu-like symptoms since the team was in Oakland last week and Twins manager Ron Gardenhire finally felt it was time to give the catcher a rest. The skipper said that Mauer’s bat looked a bit slow on Wednesday night. So the club’s .425 hitter is out of the lineup for Thursday’s series finale against the Pirates.

Instead of Mauer in the DH spot for the day game, Brian Buscher gets the nod. Jason Kubel is in left field with Delmon Young getting a break today as well. Left-handers are batting .346 off Pirates starter Zach Duke while righties are hitting just .237.

Day games haven’t exactly been kind to the Twins so far this year. They are just 7-16 in day games this season while batting .246 in those contests. So they’ll see if they can end this series on a positive note, picking up not only a day win but also a series win.

Here are today’s lineups:

Pirates
Andrew McCutchen, CF
Nyjer Morgan, LF
Eric Hinske, DH
Adam LaRoche, 1B
Andy LaRoche, 3B
Brandon Moss, RF
Jason Jaramillo, C
Ramon Vazquez, 2B
Jack Wilson, SS
Pitching: Zach Duke, LHP

Twins
Carlos Gomez, CF
Brendan Harris, SS
Justin Morneau, 1B
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Jason Kubel, LF
Joe Crede, 3B
Brian Buscher, DH
Mike Redmond, C
Nick Punto, 2B
Pitching: Nick Blackburn, RHP

Your new batting leader….Joe Mauer

Joe Mauer doesn’t have enough plate appearances to officially qualify for the American League batting title just yet, although he’s getting close. Still if the season were to end today, Mauer would be crowned the AL batting champion.

Confused?

Well, thanks to Twins Geek I stumbled across an interesting tidbit today. Heading into Tuesday’s game, Mauer was 21 plate appearances short of qualifying for the batting title. But if Mauer were to be given an 0-for-21, something to make up for his missing plate appearances, his .364 batting average still would have beat out Ichiro Suzuki’s .360 — thus giving him the title.

All of this is even before Mauer went 4-for-4 in Tuesday’s 8-2 win, raising his batting average to an astounding .429. It’s June 16 and his batting average is closer to .450 than it is .400. That’s pretty amazing in itself.

Humble as ever, Mauer doesn’t seem to like to talk about his hitting much. He won’t let on if he’s as amazed by all of this and he certainly isn’t ready to talk about whether he could possibly hit .400 for a season, a feat that hasn’t been done since Ted Williams hit .406 in 1941.

With how great of a season that Mauer is currently putting together, I couldn’t help but laugh last weekend during a coversation I had with him. While the team was in Seattle, I took advantage of Friday’s night game to play a course near Tacoma that I’d been wanting to play — Chambers Bay, the site of the 2015 U.S. Open. I had told Mauer and Justin Morneau that I was going to play golf there so when I got a chance to talk to Mauer on Saturday, one of the first things he asked me was how golf went.

I told him I had a pretty decent round, shooting 83 while playing the course at about 6500 yards — a little bit longer than I usually play. Considering that I had rented clubs and it was a pretty challenging course, I felt pretty good overall about my round.

“You haven’t played since Spring Training, right?” Mauer asked me.

Nope, I told him.

“Geez, it must be nice to be that good,” Mauer said.

This coming from a guy that’s now hitting .429 on the season. Yeah Joe, it must be nice to be that good.

Another edition of the Banged up and Bruised

After getting two straight days off thanks to Monday’s off day, Joe Mauer is back in the lineup for the Twins in the series opener against the Indians tonight. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that Mauer is still a little sore after taking his share of hits behind the plate in Saturday’s game at Tampa Bay, but he feels good enough to play so he’s in there.

Joe Crede and Michael Cuddyer are both still out of the lineup. Crede’s left knee is still slightly swollen and he showed off some nasty-looking bruises to a group of us reporters today. He’s got one right above the knee and one below it that extends down the leg. But Crede took batting practice with the team and fielded at third, so Gardenhire thinks Crede might be back in the lineup for Wednesday’s contest.

Cuddyer got good news when the MRI on his finger came back negative, meaning there is no structural damage. The doctors have told him they just have to wait for the swelling to get out of the knuckle, and the hope is that it will only be a couple days. Gardenhire sounded a little more concerned due to the fact that he doesn’t want to be short a player for very long, since  he only has a four-man bench right now. Cuddyer wasn’t doing anything on the field on Tuesday.

When I got to the ballpark this afternoon, the Twins were taking early batting practice but it wasn’t just the hitters this time. The pitchers were down there doing some bunting drills. Their upcoming 10-game roadtrip ends in Chicago with three contests agianst the Cubs so it’s time to get those pitchers’ bats warmed up for Interleague Play. I’ll admit, it’s always enjoyable to get a glimpse at some of the swings at this time of the year.

Here are today’s lineups:

Indians
Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
Ben Francisco, LF
Victor Martinez, 1B
Shin-Soo Choo, DH
Jhonny Peralta, 3B
Mark DeRosa, RF
Luis Valbuena, 2B
Trevor Crowe, CF
Kelly Shoppach, C
Pitching: David Huff, LHP  (making just his 4th career start)

Twins
Denard Span, RF
Joe Mauer, C
Justin Morneau, 1B
Jason Kubel, DH
Brendan Harris, SS
Delmon Young, LF
Brian Buscher, 3B
Carlos Gomez, CF
Alexi Casilla, 2B
Pitching: Kevin Slowey, RHP

May day, trying for that elusive road win

The Twins are a little banged up and bruised as they head into Sunday’s series finale against the Rays.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that Joe Mauer looked like “he’s been blocking balls in the dirt with no gear on.” So Mauer will get a day off, although he is available to pinch-hit later in the game.

Joe Crede’s left knee and leg is still swollen so he was out of the lineup. He’s not expected to be available for the contest.

With Mauer out of starting lineup, Alexi Casilla is in the No. 2 hole for Sunday’s contest.

So the Twins will go with a slightly different looking lineup as they try to avoid the sweep and capture just their sixth road win of the season as they finish out the month of May. Currently the club’s 5-16 road record is the worst in the Majors.

Here are today’s lineups:

Twins
Denard Span, LF
Alexi Casilla, 2B
Justin Morneau, 1B
Jason Kubel, DH
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Brendan Harris, SS
Brian Buscher, 3B
Mike Redmond, C
Carlos Gomez, CF
Pitching: Nick Blackburn, RHP

Rays
Ben Zobrist, 2B
Carl Crawford, LF
Evan Longoria, DH
Carlos Pena, 1B
Willy Aybar, 3B
Matt Joyce, CF
Gabe Gross, RF
Dioner Navarro, C
Reid Brignac, SS
Pitching: Matt Garza, RHP

Banged up and Bruised…Memorial Day Lineups: Twins vs. Red Sox

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire knew that it likely would be difficult to put together a lineup on Monday morning, considering that he had his share of players with injury questions.

And he was right.

For the series opener against the Red Sox, the Twins will be without catcher Joe Mauer, third baseman Joe Crede and outfielder Denard Span.

Crede’s right hand is still swollen after being struck by a pitch in the sixth inning of last night’s game against the Brewers. He was diagnosed with just a deep bruise after the ball busted a blood vessel, but Gardenhire didn’t want to take any chances since Crede was having trouble gripping the ball after being hit.

Span reported feeling better on Monday morning, but he’s still a little light-headed and dizzy. Gardenhire said he wouldn’t take any risks in sending Span to the plate when he’s feeling like that.

As for Mauer, his right hand seemed to be doing better after he was struck by a pitch in the seventh inning. But Gardenhire said that Mauer is feeling sore overall after playing in 13 straight games during the club’s stretch of 20 straight, and this seemed like the time to give him that break.

Jason Kubel is back in the lineup as the DH, after being sidelined for the past three days due to a swollen left knee. Gardenhire warned, though, that the club doesn’t know how quick Kubel might be on the basepaths due to the knee.

But in the funny moment of the day — and perhaps of the season so far — Carlos Gomez added his own injury to the pile. Gomez needed two stitches for a cut on his head that he suffered while getting caught in a revolving door on his way into the Metrodome on Monday morning. It wasn’t enough to keep Gomez out of the lineup, but it did give many of his coaches and teammates a laugh.

So with all the changes and injuries, brace yourself for a lineup that isn’t exactly the “A” version for the Twins.

Red Sox
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
Jason Bay, LF
Mike Lowell, DH
Rocco Baldelli, RF
Jason Varitek, C
Jeff Bailey, 1B
Julio Lugo, SS
Pitching: Brad Penny, RHP

Twins
Carlos Gomez, CF
Matt Tolbert, 2B
Justin Morneau, 1B
Jason Kubel, DH
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Brian Buscher, 3B
Mike Redmond, C
Delmon Young, LF
Nick Punto, SS
Pitching: Francisco Liriano, LHP

Could Mauer return during the Rays series this week?

Catcher Joe Mauer spoke with manager Ron Gardenhire after catching seven innings for Class A Fort Myers and told the skipper to  “keep an open mind” about possibly activating him from the disabled list before his expected return date of May 1.

Mauer is scheduled to catch nine innings for Fort Myers on Monday night and Gardenhire said the club will decide after the game whether Mauer might return to the club as soon as Tuesday. Mauer already. So it sounds like that if everything keeps going well for Mauer, his return could come during that series against the Rays instead of waiting until Friday, as was expected.

Tonight, Mauer will catch around seven innings again for Fort Myers and he’s scheduled to DH in Sunday’s game.

No update on Mauer yet

Twins catcher Joe Mauer was scheduled to see a specialist in Baltimore on Saturday regarding his lower back, but as of late afternoon Twins GM Bill Smith had not gotten any updates concerning the exam.

Smith said that Mauer was due to fly back to Fort Myers on Saturday night. So the expectation is that the club will get updated by sometime on Sunday at the very latest.

The catcher was diagnosed with inflammation in the right sacroiliac
joint — where the base of the spine meets the top of the pelvis — by
Twins doctors following a magnetic resonance arthrogram this week. He’s been unable to take part in any team workouts so far this spring due to pain in his lower back, which he first started experiencing late last season.

The team doesn’t believe that this pain is related to the Dec. 22 surgery that Mauer had to eliminate a kidney obstruction. In fact, the doctors discovered the kidney obstruction while trying to determine what was causing Mauer’s back pain. While the surgery eliminated some of Mauer’s discomfort, there is still pain near that joint that has lingered and affects Mauer whenever he tries to run.

Smith was asked on Saturday if he was getting nervous about the situation.

“Long term? No.” Smith said. “No one has given me any reason to be and I hope they never do.” 

Joe Mauer has inflammed lower back

Twins catcher Joe Mauer has been diagnosed with inflammation in the sacroiliac joint, following the magnetic resonance arthrogram he had on Tuesday.

The sacroiliac joint, often referred to as the SI joint, is located at the base of each side of the spine where it meets the top of the pelvis. Mauer’s inflammation is located in the joint on the right side of his lower back.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he was told by team physician, Dr. John Steubs, that the doctors will switch Mauer to a more aggressive medication in hopes of clearing up the inflammation. The team will wait a few days to see how Mauer responds to the medication before he tries any physical activity.

“It shows the same thing,” Gardenhire said. “The inflammation in the SI joint and they are going just change the medicine and we’ll go from there.”

Gardenhire said the Twins had been treating Mauer for some inflammation
in the joint already, so the news that there were no additional
problems was a relief.

“You are thinking that it could be something huge with the way it’s
been going,” Gardenhire said. “But obviously it’s the same thing. They
just haven’t gotten it under control yet.”

Mauer underwent the exam after lower back discomfort has prevented him from doing any baseball related activities in recent days.  The catcher has been limited in his work so far this spring following surgery to eliminate a kidney obstruction on Dec. 22.

But Mauer hasn’t been experiencing the discomfort when he’s catching, throwing or swinging a bat. The only time that his back has proved to be an issue is when he tries to run.

Fort Lauderdale and Mauer updates

Greetings from Fort Lauderdale, where the Twins are set to take on the Orioles this afternoon.

I’m here to cover the game but the big news of the day will be when the Twins learn the result of Joe Mauer’s magnetic resonance arthrogram of his lower back. Mauer was able to get in and have the exam done on Tuesday afternoon. Twins physician, Dr. John Steubs, said that he expects to get the results of the test this morning. The team won’t comment on those results until after Steubs consults with other doctors and talks with Mauer and the Twins officials.

I’ll keep you updated with news on that as soon as I get it.

I stopped by the clubhouse this morning and both Justin Morneau and Jesse Crain had returned after Team Canada was knocked out of the World Baseball Classic. Morneau expressed disappointment at the quick exit but said that Crain looked really strong in his outings. I’ll have more on that in a story later today.

As for the game, Nick Blackburn is on the trip and is expected to pitch one inning after starter Glen Perkins is finished. Joe Crede has made the trip and will get the start at third base today. Joe Nathan is also making his second trip in a week to Fort Lauderdale, which he joked hasn’t happened in the six years he’s been with the Twins.

For now, here are today’s lineups.

Twins:
Denard Span, LF
Alexi Casilla, 2B
Joe Crede, 3B
Jason Kubel, DH
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Brian Buscher, 1B
Mike Redmond, C
Brendan Harris, SS
Carlos Gomez, CF
Pitching: Glen Perkins, LHP

Orioles:
Brian Robers, 2B
Adam Jones, CF
Ty Wigginton, 3B
Aubrey Huff, 1B
Matt Wieters, DH
Luke Scott, LF
Ryan Freel, RF
Gregg Zaun, C
Jolbert Cabrerea, SS
Pitching: David Pauley, RHP