Keeping his legs fresher by leaving the catcher position could result in many more stolen base attempts this season for new
"There'll be opportunities for him," Ron Gardenhire told MLB.com. "If they're not paying attention, Joe's not afraid to run. I've given him plenty of green lights even as a catcher. He can definitely do it. ... I don't want to see him kill himself out there. But he's pretty athletic."
Mauer attempted and failed in just one steal attempt last season. His career high in steals is 13 in 2005, but he has been successful in 43 of 59 attempts since 2004.
"There'll be opportunities for him," Gardenhire said. "If they're not paying attention, Joe's not afraid to run. I've given him plenty of green lights even as a catcher. He can definitely do it. It's just a matter of how the game's going, how he's going. I don't want to see him kill himself out there. But he's pretty athletic. I don't worry about him. If I give him a stolen base, if I give it to him, he's not afraid to try. He'll run, and he'll pick his pitch out too. We have a lot of trust with him. And I think with being out from behind the plate is going to help him, help his legs."
Mauer stole 13 bases in his first full season with the Twins back in 2005, and he had eight stolen bases just two seasons ago as well. He has been successful in 43 of his 59 career attempts.
"Physically, I'll be better," Mauer said. "I won't be taking foul tips off the shoulder or hand or legs. That will be nice. Not worrying about hitters as much or scouting reports during the season, I'll be able to focus on the offensive side, which will be good."
Mauer won't predict how much his offensive numbers will improve, but believes it will make a difference as long as he's able to stay in the lineup.
"I think 20 more games playing that position, I think my numbers will be better, but I think it's a lot of unknowns, what is going to happen," Mauer said. "I'm not going to try to be anything I'm not. I'm going to go out there and just try to have good at-bats and play the game like I always have. It will just be at a different position."
"This year I wanted to start off the year making sure I got over this concussion and took the time," Mauer said, per the Pioneer Press. "It's going pretty good heading into the year."
Mauer said he has been symptom-free since late October and is not concerned he hasn't picked up a bat yet.
"I'll get to camp, and I think we'll have plenty of time to get ready for the season," he said. "It's been a very productive offseason. I'm looking forward to getting down there."
According to a team announcement, the
In light of the concussion Mauer suffered in August, which caused him to miss the final six weeks of the season, the Twins consulted with the Mayo Clinic as to the best course of action. In their official statement, the team announced, "...given the inherent risks of future injury at the catcher position, the organization and Joe determined that it would be in the best interest of both him and the Twins for a position change."
Mauer, who hit .324 in 113 games in 2013, played only eight games at first base. Josmil Pinto is likely to be among the candidates to replace Mauer as the Twins' primary catcher.
|CBSSports.com Player Ranking|
|9/29/2013 vs Cleveland|
|Last 7 Games|
|Complete Game Log|
| 30 || 31 |
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|More Batting Stats|
|Postseason Batting Stats|
|Minor League Batting Stats|
|2011||AFA-Fort Myers Miracle||7||23||3||6||2||0||1||6||3||1||0||0||.370||.478||.261|
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