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Joe Mauer won’t be catching in the early part of spring training

Feb 22, 2011, 8:00 PM EDT

Joe Mauer dugout

Joe Mauer received a shot of medicine earlier today to help lubricate his left knee joint, according to Kelly Theisier of MLB.com. Of course, Mauer underwent minor surgery in December to take care of some lingering inflammation in the very same knee.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said today that he plans to take it easy with his star catcher in the early part of spring training.

“I want to make sure those things take effect,” Gardenhire said of the shot. “He’s feeling a lot better. You can see him moving and feeling great and we want to keep it that way. So we’re going to kind of guard him and back him off, and we’ll eventually get him in the ballgames, too.”

“I’m not thinking that he’s going to be catching in the games right away, either,” said Gardenhire. “I’m just going to bide my time with that and make sure we get him in situations and get him ready. It’s more important for him to see the pitchers on the side, a few bullpens on the side, but I want to make sure we clean that knee up before we get anything going.”

Maybe we shouldn’t be alarmed quite yet, but the long-term health of Mauer’s knee is obviously of critical importance given the rigors of the catcher position. The 27-year-old has started 105 and 107 games behind the dish in the past two seasons and I’d honestly be surprised if that number will increase as he gets up there in age.

  1. The Baseball Idiot - Feb 23, 2011 at 6:06 AM

    Time to make him a left fielder.

  2. wonkypenguin - Feb 23, 2011 at 8:20 AM

    If we could go a couple of days without headlines that indicate Morneau or Mauer are having setbacks…even if they are minor setbacks and it’s not even March and I get that…that’d be awesome. Not a fun thing to read over cereal. :-)

  3. trevorb06 - Feb 23, 2011 at 10:24 AM

    If, god forbid, Morneau doesn’t start the season due to his head (to which Gleeman and I will both be in our respective corners of our houses crying) then maybe start giving Mauer some starts at first. That knee does need to be protected. I love me some allstar defense from Mauer at the dish, and really nobody has better defense at catcher than Mauer, but we need to protect that huge investment. Basically what I’m getting at is just because you bought a Bugatti doesn’t mean you need to drive it 200 mph all the time… protect that investment.

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