Tag:Joe Mauer
Posted on: August 18, 2011 6:09 pm
 

Span placed on DL, Mauer heads to right

SpanBy Evan Brunell

Denard Span was placed on the disabled list by the Twins after not appearing in a game since Saturday.

To replace Span on the roster, infielder Luke Hughes was recalled. However, between Span's DLing, the trade of Delmon Young to Detroit and Michael Cuddyer day to day with with an injured neck,  Minnesota is all of a sudden short in the outfield.

That's why Joe Mauer is playing right field on Thursday as Luke Hughes struggles to get to the Twins in time, leaving Minnesota with just nine healthy position players, as 1500 ESPN reports. Forced into outfield duty by necessity, its Mauer's first career game in the outfield. Mauer has also played first base, doing so 12 times in his career -- all this season.

Mauer hasn't played the outfield except "maybe a couple games in town ball," he told ESPN, but "I guess it was either me or [Justin Morneau]. It's just been an interesting year. Hopefully we get through today and get some guys in here, and hopefully it's just a one-time deal."

Mauer mentioned that had Hughes been available, he would have been catching. Instead, backup Drew Butera will draw the assignment.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: July 3, 2011 11:11 am
Edited on: July 3, 2011 11:19 am
 

Mauer to make debut at 1B soon

Joe Mauer

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Joe Mauer's debut at first base is coming any day now, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.

Mauer's been taking ground balls and making throws from first base, but is at the point where he needs to play games there to really learn the position, he told the newspaper.

Mauer nearly played first in Saturday's loss to the Brewers to give Luke Hughes' sore knee a rest, but Hughes felt good enough to play, allowing Mauer to DH. He is expected to catch in Sunday's series finale against Milwaukee. The Twins start a series against the Rays on Monday afternoon and that could be the first time Mauer starts at first.

"He's going to get out there [at first base] pretty soon," Gardenhire said, according to the newspaper. "I think he's pretty much ready to go out there, any time we say let's go do it."

Mauer has improved his averaged from .186 to .241 after a seven-game hitting streak, including single in four at-bats on Saturday. Overall, he's hitting .241/.289/.289 and still looking for his first home run of the season.

Mauer went on the disabled list in mid-April after suffering from bilateral leg weakness before returning June 17. Mauer managed just three hits in his first seven games back, before starting his current hitting streak.

"The leg that I've had problems with is my back leg," Mauer said. "So that's kind of what I was having a tough time doing is staying back on my back leg, driving the ball. So it's getting better, and I'm feeling better at the plate."

The Twins are hoping he'll feel better more often if he's not behind the plate. 

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Posted on: June 27, 2011 5:10 pm
Edited on: June 27, 2011 6:27 pm
 

Mauer works out at first base

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Joe MauerTwins 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.

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Posted on: June 27, 2011 9:54 am
Edited on: June 27, 2011 10:31 am
 

Pepper: Is the trade deadline too soon?

By C. Trent Rosecrans


BASEBALL TODAY: Are the Nationals headed in the right direction with Davey Johnson? MLB.com's Tom Bororstein joins Lauren Shihadi to discuss the Nationals, as well as the upcoming Reds-Rays series, the Indians-Diamondbacks and more.

PUSH IT BACK: In a month, we here at Eye On Baseball will be churning out rumors and speculation left and right -- who has interest in whom, which team is a buyer and which is a seller and what backup second baseman has some trade value. It's part of the baseball calendar, the last weekend of July. But is that too early?

Tim Sullivan of the San Diego Union-Tribune says it is, and I'm not sure he's wrong.

The nonwaiver trade deadline is at the two-thirds mark of the season, and that may be too soon for teams to decide just exactly what their chances are to make the best decision about folding or going all in on a postseason run.

The best reason to change it is that it forces too many teams -- especially those without a high payroll flexibility -- to give up too soon. Who wants to pay to see 25 games or so to see a team that has given up hope? Push the trade deadline back and lie to us a little longer, we like that.

NEW YORK TRADE TIME?: Could this be the year the Mets and Yankees make a big trade with each other? The two teams have only made nine trades with each other in their history. It's unlikely Jose Reyes will go across town, but Francisco Rodriguez, Carlos Beltran, Jason Isringhausen and Tim Byrdak could help the Yankees. [Wall Street Journal]

STRETCHING PINEDA: While nobody gave it any consideration when Michael Pineda broke the Mariners' camp in the rotation, it's now going to become an issue -- will the Mariners allow the rookie starter to add innings to his arm if the Mariners stick in the American League West race?

Seattle manager Eric Wedge says the team has a plan, not just for Pineda but the team's other pitchers as well, to try to limit innings, but still have his starters ready for September. The biggest thing is not limiting innings, but his game-to-game pitch count, Wedge said. [Seattle Times]

BARNEY SAYS IT GETS BETTER: Cubs rookie Darwin Barney not only participated in the "It Gets Better" project aimed at gay teens, but also said he was "honored" to ask. A cool deal for both Barney and an ever better deal for the campaign started by Cubs fan Dan Savage. The Giants have also shot a spot for the project. [Chicago Tribune]

HARANG STILL OUT: Padres starter Aaron Harang is unlikely to return from a stress fracture in his right foot until after the All-Star break. Harang leads the Padres' staff with a 7-2 record and 3.71 ERA. He's been on the DL since June 13. [San Diego Union-Tribune]

SORIA BACK: Since being reinstated as the Royals' closer, Joakim Soria hasn't allowed a run in 10 games (12 innings). He's only allowed four hits and two walks while striking out 12 and notching six saves. [Kansas City Star]

WE'RE GOING STREAKING!: Who is the streakiest team in baseball? Beyondtheboxscore.com has done the math and it's the Boston Red Sox. The least streaky? Well, that would be the consistently bad Chicago Cubs. The Cubs, amazingly enough, haven't won three games in a row all season.

JENKS BACK SOON: Red Sox reliever Bobby Jenks is expected to join the team Monday in Philadelphia and could be activated on Tuesday. [Boston Herald]

Marlins STILL WOOING BIG NAMES: Nobody expects Jack McKeon to manager the Marlins next season. Florida hired its interim manager after last season and look at how that turned out. Apparently owner Jeffrey Loria wants a big-name manager, and that's likely Bobby Valentine or Ozzie Guillen. [Palm Beach Post]

BYRD'S FACEMASK: Bringing flashbacks of Terry Steinbach, Cubs outfielder Marlon Byrd will wear a helmet with extra protection in his rehab start at Triple-A Iowa. Byrd was hit in the face last month and suffered facial fractures. [Chicago Tribune]

FINDING NIMMO: The Mets made Brandon Nimmo the first-ever first-round draft pick from the state of Wyoming. Wyoming hasn't had a first-rounder before because of its combination of low population and harsh climate. Nimmo's dad, Ron, has helped on both causes, raising his sons there and building a barn where they could hone their baseball skills year-round. [New York Post]

CHANGEUP PITCHES: The Brewers want right-hander Yovani Gallardo to throw more changeups. Gallardo is 9-4 with a 3.92 ERA this season, but is throwing the changeup just 1.6 percent of the time and none in his last two starts. The Brewers believe the pitch could help him lower his pitch counts and go deeper into games. [MLB.com]

HANLEY TO STAY AT CLEANUP: The Marlins new regime is going to continue using shortstop Hanley Ramirez as the team's cleanup hitter. Ramirez was hitting .200/.298/.295 overall when he was put in the fourth spot by new manager Jack McKeon and in five games in that spot, he's hitting .400/.429/.450 with four RBI, raising his overall line to .218/.309/.309. [Palm Beach Post]

SMALL GESTURE, BIG DEAL: Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune writes a really neat tale of Curt Schilling and a World War II veteran who recently passed away.

ROSE BRINGS 'EM IN: There's apparently not a whole lot going on in the greater Bristol area of Virginia and Tennessee, because Pete Rose is bringing in the fans. No, not the Hit King, but Pete Rose Jr., manager of the Bristol White Sox of the short-season Class A Appalachian League. Still, it's cool Rose is chasing his dream. If there's one thing when you look at his career path, he may not have his father's talent, but he does have his drive. [Bristol Herald Courier]

THIS IS WRONG: That's it. Just wrong. [Yahoo!'s Big League Stew]

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Posted on: June 24, 2011 5:50 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2011 7:45 pm
 

Morneau to have surgery, miss 6 weeks

Justin Morneau

By C. Trent Rosecrans and Evan Brunell

Already on the disabled list with a strained left wrist, Twins first baseman Justin Morneau will undergo surgery next week to alleviate pain from a  pinched nerve in his neck, the team announced.

"He should be back playing full in six weeks," trainer Rick McWane told the Associated Press. "Even though the risk is small, there still is a risk that if he continued to play through this and not get it fixed that his full strength would not come back, so we made the decision."

The pain, it should be noted, is not related to the concussion that kept him out of the second half of the 2010 season. The surgery is non-evasive, but will still sideline Morneau for an extended period. McWane also noted the time off should help Morneau's wrist injury, so there's that.

"I was honestly kind of looking forward to him getting out of this cast [from the wrist] and seeing where he was at, kind of hoping we'd have him back here in four or five days or whatever," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I know Morny didn't want any part of this, really, he's been fighting this stuff with the surgery and trying to stay away from anything like that so he can finish out the season. ... I know it's frustrating for him, so I feel bad for him more than anything else."

This is just another in the long list of Twins injuries. So far, Joe Mauer (legs), Tsuyoshi Nishioka (broken leg), Joe Nathan (elbow), Denard Span (concussion) and Jason Kubel (foot) have all missed significant time due to injuries this season.

Also, designated hitter Jim Thome was expected to come off the disabled list today, but could return early next week when the team returns home and to the American League rules.

Morneau is hitting just .225/.281/.338 with four home runs and 21 RBI in 55 games this season. 

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Posted on: June 17, 2011 6:58 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2011 7:39 pm
 

Mauer returns, but Twins injuries linger

By Matt Snyder

Joe Mauer is back Friday night, but that doesn't mean the Twins are fully healed. Not even close.

Here's the latest rundown, courtesy of Joe Christensen of the Star Tribune.

-- Joe Nathan is going to begin a rehab stint Saturday for Triple-A Rochester. The plan is for him to throw two to three games, including working back-to-back nights, and he could return next Friday. The former Twins closer is still having issues with his surgically repaired right elbow.

-- Jim Thome is working back into form from his injured quad and back in Fort Myers. He's reportedly close to game-ready and could join the Twins before their NL road trip -- of course, he'd have to play a position instead of DH, so maybe they'll just hold off on that, giving him some extra time.

- Jason Kubel (foot) and Denard Span (lingering concussion symptoms) have been ruled out for the Twins' trip to San Francisco for the first part of next week. The earliest either will return is next Friday at Milwaukee.

And remember, Justin Morneau is still on the DL as well.

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Posted on: June 17, 2011 4:55 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2011 9:32 pm
 

On Deck: Interleague intrigue

OD

By Matt Snyder


Only the Dodgers and Astros are stuck playing one another in an intraleague matchup Friday night, as the other 28 teams are engaged with an opponent from the other league. The Yankees visited Wrigley Field for the first time since 2003 this afternoon, we've got a Bay Area showdown, the Marlins and Rays squaring off and a Baltimore-D.C. tilt. There are some odd-ball games series like the Blue Jays-Reds and a great bout between first place teams in the Brewers-Red Sox series. But that's not all ...

Trading Places: Edwin Jackson (4-5, 4.39) had a brief stint in Arizona -- one that included his only career no-hitter -- before he was traded to the White Sox. Part of the package that went to Arizona included Daniel Hudson (7-5, 3.82). Coincidentally, the two will take the mound against each other Friday night in Arizona. The White Sox continue to search for consistency from any aspect of the team, but now it's the offense as they only scored one run in two losses at Minnesota. They are 5-1/2 games out in the AL Central, kind of that middle range where you're definitely in striking distance but don't want to fall much farther back. The Diamondbacks avoided a sweep at the hands of the Giants with a win Thursday night and trail the defending champs by just 1-1/2 games. Chicago (AL) at Arizona, 9:40 p.m. ET.  Watch Live Scoring

Different directions: Don't look now, but the Pittsburgh Pirates have won 11 of 16 games and are only three games out in the NL Central. We're past the halfway point of June, so we can't cling to "it's early" any longer. The Pirates haven't had a winning record since 1992, so being two games over 68 into the season is a big deal. Meanwhile, the feel-good story of the early season was the Indians hot start. But they're 6-16 since May 23 and have completely blown a seven game lead in that time. In fact, they now trail the Tigers by a game in the AL Central. Still, if we forget everything we've seen so far and look at the standings, the Indians are a game out and Pirates are three out. In looking at the interleague schedule, there's no way anyone would have predicted back in mid-March this series would be so meaningful come mid-June. Kevin Correia (8-5, 3.73) takes the hill for the Pirates while Josh Tomlin (7-4, 4.14) goes for the Tribe. Do note the Indians' offense receives a boost as Travis Hafner has been activated from the disabled list. Pittsburgh at Cleveland, 7:05 p.m. ET. Watch Live Scoring

He's Back: Joe Mauer has been activated off the disabled list and will start for the first time since April 12. He'll hit third and catch as the Twins host the Padres. Clayton Richard (2-8, 4.06) gets the start for the Padres. Mauer is 2-5 against Richard in his career. Brian Duensing (3-6, 4.98) takes the hill for the Twins, who are showing signs of life after being abysmal for much of the first two months. They've now won 11 of 13 and have climbed to within nine games in the AL Central. San Diego at Minnesota, 8:10 p.m. ET.  Watch Live Scoring

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Posted on: June 17, 2011 12:17 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2011 4:49 pm
 

Pepper: New Marlins ballpark draws raves


Edwin Jackson and Daniel Hudson are facing each other for the first time following last season's trade. Danny Knobler joins Scott Braun to take a look at the impact this trade has had and also looks ahead to other compelling interleague matchups.

By Evan Brunell

NEW PARK: The Marlins took media on a tour of the new ballpark Thursday, and it's the first real look at what the park wil be revealed as. There was a prior visit in spring training, but the ballpark at that point was mostly a construction zone. Now, thousands of seats are installed, the foul poles are up and the view of the Florida skyline has drawn rave reviews.

One interesting note is that there will be minimal foul territory, with less than 10 feet between the poles and walls leading to each corner, which means fans will be close to the action. One wonders what effect this will have on park factors and if the park could be hitter friendly.

"That's the only foul territory," said Claude Delorme, executive vice president of ballpark development. "Basically, it's either in play or it's in the seats. Every seat is a really quality seat. … We have more seats in the upper deck of Sun Life than the total capacity of this ballpark."

The response for the new park has been impressive, with more full season tickets being sold for next season than ever in franchise history. President David Samson views this as a good thing "because people are buying the ballpark, not the product."

Color me unconvinced. At some point, fans are going to want to see a winning product and a payroll that doesn't look out of place in the NHL's capped league. (The NHL capped payroll in this just-concluded season at $59.4 million.) As every other team with a new park can tell you, there is an initial bump in attendance in the first year, but that quickly dissipates. The Marlins will have a big fight on their hands to retain their season-ticket holders, and if the present and past is any indication they will lose that fight. (South Florida Sun Sentinel)

WASHING JOCKS
: A Pittsburgh radio host declared that if the Pirates reached 34-34, he would wash the entire team's jock straps. The Pirates are now 35-33, so the milestone has been reached. Have fun, John Seibel! (Big League Stew)

MAKE A WISH
: Before every homestand, Willie Bloomquist brings a child from the Phoenix Children's Hospital to a game, and Wednesday night's guest, Abe Spreck, predicted that Bloomquist would hit a home run. He of 14 career blasts in 780 career games. Bloomquist tried to tell Spreck, 14, how impossible it would be, but guess what happened? Yup. (Arizona Republic)

SPEAKING OF... Remember when there was a brouhaha a few days ago about Wrigley Field being a dump? Apparently that may not be too far off as word filters out that the rooftop establishments that allow extra seating for Cubs games are rarely inspected by health officials. Not good, but as one of these rooftop professionals quipped, "I think the only thing the people could get sick from is the way the Cubs play." (These establishments are not owned or operated by the Cubs.) (Chicago Tribune)

FORTUNATE 50: Sports Illustrated reveals its 50 most-paid American athletes for the year, and 17 baseball players landed on the list. The top five are Alex Rodriguez, CC Sabathia, Joe Mauer, Vernon Wells and Derek Jeter. No surprise that three Yankees are in the top five. (SI.com)

GLORIFIED DH: When Eric Hosmer sat on Thursday, it wasn't Billy Butler who took his place -- it was backup infielder Wilson Betemit. Manager Ned Yost conceded that Butler won't start any games in National League parks, which will reduce him to a pinch-hitter. Remind me again why it's OK to take away one of the team's best weapons, built specifically within the rules of the league, in exchange for having a pitcher walk up to the plate, take three half-hearted swings or lay down a sacrifice bunt that may or may not work? (Kansas City Star)

SLUGGISH SOX: The White Sox aren't performing well, and the Twins' recent run has the spotlight being shined squarely on Chicago as underperformers. Skipper Ozzie Guillen says there aren't any quick fixes to be had, though. (Chicago Tribune)

PITCHERS BAT EIGHTH: Manager Tony LaRussa is a big fan of batting pitchers eighth instead of ninth, although he doesn't do it on a regular basis. Nats manager Jim Riggleman recently made the switch and the team is 5-0 since. (Washington Post)

GUTHRIE HURT: Jeremy Guthrie was unable to come out for the sixth inning of Thursday's game after suffering a back strain. The injury has drawn concern given how Guthrie is so durable and adamant about pushing through adversity. He will undergo an MRI Friday. (Baltimore Sun)

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