Twins catcher Joe Mauer has played in just 18 games so far this season, heating up the debate of whether he needs to move out from behind the plate and to another position in order to prolong his career and maximize his value to the Twins, who have him signed through 2018.
Manager Ron Gardenhire has repeatedly said the team had no plans on moving Mauer from catcher. Those plans may have changed.
With Justin Morneau out until August with a neck injury, Mauer took grounders at first base before Monday's game against the Dodgers, the Minneapolis Star Tribune's La Velle E. Neal III reports. Mauer is in the lineup tonight, but catching.
Before the game, Mauer said learning a new position won't be "an overnight thing," but he is hoping to play first soon.
"I'm going to do everything I can to get ready as quick as I can," Mauer told Kelsie Smith of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (via Twitter).
Mauer has never played a position other than catcher or designated hitter since coming to the big leagues in 2004. Mauer went on the disabled list in April with what the team called "bilateral leg weakness," a condition that it seems wouldn't be helped by the physical demands of catching. Since returning to the Twins on June 17, Mauer is hitting just .161/.188/.194 without a home run.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.