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Joe Mauer “not happy” Ron Gardenhire talked publicly about his knee injections

Feb 23, 2011, 10:18 AM EDT

joe-mauer-and-ron-gardenhire

Yesterday manager Ron Gardenhire revealed to reporters that Joe Mauer might be held out from catching early in Twins camp after receiving a lubricant injection in his surgically repaired left knee, saying he wanted to “make sure those things take effect” before upping Mauer’s workload.

Apparently that wasn’t supposed to be public information, because this morning Mauer spoke to those same reporters about the situation and they all came away thinking he was upset at Gardenhire for spilling the beans.

Phil Mackey of 1500ESPN.com wrote that Mauer “wasn’t thrilled about his lubricant knee shot going public.” Kelsie Smith of the St. Paul Pioneer Press wrote that Mauer is “miffed the shots are public.” LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune wrote that Mauer was “not pleased Gardenhire outed him about the injection.”

During a typical interview Mauer says absolutely nothing of interest, let alone anything even close to controversial, so for three reporters to come away from a meeting with him thinking he was upset about the manager’s loose lips is noteworthy. Mauer also stressed that the injection is simply part of his planned recovery from surgery, saying that the shot he received this week is the first in a series of three scheduled to get him ready for the season:

It’s not that I need it. It’s more of a preventative thing just to make sure I’m good to go for the season. It’s really not that big of a deal and I kind of wish it wasn’t out there, but here we are. I was surprised that it was out there. Usually a lot of these things happen and you never know about it. I guess being a catcher and all that stuff, it might sound a lot worse than what it is. I don’t think it’s really that big of a deal.

Mauer has had more than his fair share of injuries over the years, including a knee injury that required surgery and cut short his rookie season after just 35 games in 2004, but since then he’s been among the most durable catchers in baseball while averaging 134 games and 576 plate appearances per season.

“It’s not that I need it,” said Mauer, who underwent the minor knee surgery in mid-December. “It’s more of a preventative thing just to make sure I’m good to go for the season … It’s really not that big of a deal and I kind of wish it wasn’t out there but here we are.”

Upon finding a group of reporters at his locker prior to Wednesday’s workout, Mauer expressed some disappointment that the news was made public.

“I was surprised that it was out there,” he said. “Usually a lot of these things happen and you never know about it.”

He added, “I guess being a catcher and all that stuff, it might sound a lot worse than what it is.”

“I don’t think it’s really that big of a deal.”

  1. phukyouk - Feb 23, 2011 at 10:22 AM

    he was really unhappy about the fact that gardenhire was talking about him and lube in the same interview. i kind of understand his point.

    • trevorb06 - Feb 23, 2011 at 10:55 AM

      stole my joke :)

      early bird gets the worm I guess.

  2. sknut - Feb 23, 2011 at 10:36 AM

    I get it, but this really is a non story and I think that is Mauer’s point. In two weeks most people will have forgotten this ever happened. As long as he is good to go April 1 I am happy.

  3. BC - Feb 23, 2011 at 10:45 AM

    HIPAA violation waiting to happen.

  4. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Feb 23, 2011 at 10:48 AM

    Can someone tell me exactly how many games that Mauer and Morneau actually have been active at the same time during their careers vs. the number of games total that they each have played for the Twins? My guess is that they’ve played under 40% of their games together. That lineup would be really really good if both were healthy at the same time for an extended amount of time.

    • trevorb06 - Feb 23, 2011 at 10:56 AM

      Ummm, you’re kidding right?

    • JBerardi - Feb 23, 2011 at 11:14 AM

      Yeah, it might even be good enough to get Morneau a MVP award he doesn’t really deserve based on his RBI totals.

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Feb 23, 2011 at 11:14 AM

      My question is unclear and poorly worded, but I wasn’t being facetious. Mauer has played 836 games in his career and Morneau has 948. How many of these games were they actually on the field together and healthy? It just seems like one or the other is injured at any given time, but perhaps I’m merely basing that off recent memory.

      • buddygrant - Feb 23, 2011 at 12:07 PM

        I think I understand. Since no one has ever seen Mauer and Morneau on the field at the same time you are suggesting that they might be the same person?

  5. JBerardi - Feb 23, 2011 at 11:20 AM

    Also, if Mauer is getting lube injected into his knees in spring training, he really needs to not be a full time catcher much longer.

    • cur68 - Feb 23, 2011 at 11:49 AM

      This is actually an astute point. Perfluoroalkylether (trade name Synvisc) or sodium hyaluranate (trade name Hyalgan) are the synthetic joint lubricants most often used. They are the bomb for pre-arthritic joints and just the fact that he’s getting it indicates the condition is there. Mauer should stop catching NOW. No amount of positive thinking or keeping it from the media will undo what is likely a knee heading for replacement. Check this link for details of joint lube;

      http://proceedings.jbjs.org.uk/cgi/content/abstract/87-B/SUPP_III/222-b

    • buddygrant - Feb 23, 2011 at 12:16 PM

      Maybe he should retire from baseball now and live in a plastic bubble? Seriously, Mauer needs to be a catcher for as long as his knees can take it. He’s not an ideal bat for 1B/DH, and hopefully that transition does not have to take place for many years yet.

      • JBerardi - Feb 23, 2011 at 12:51 PM

        He’s an idea bat, period.

      • JBerardi - Feb 23, 2011 at 12:52 PM

        *Ideal*. Edit function, please.

      • cur68 - Feb 23, 2011 at 1:11 PM

        If Joe Mauer can’t handle DH or 1B I’ll help Calcaterra eat that hat he keeps threatening to consume. The way his knee could go (catastrophically, with 1 collision or bad lunge for the ball) you’d lose him for the season, if not forever, if he continues to catch. He is a GREAT bat (0.327 thru 2010 is great; really, really, REALLY great) and the team needs him hitting like he can hit (those numbers @ DH would be just what the Twins need to really make an offensive surge). He needs to be on 2 good legs. He aint no use to MLB in the orthopedic ward and I will miss his playstation commercials. Add to that, he’s a good dude and I don’t want to see him hurt and out of baseball. He can work on his sedate home run trot (because there’s no way he’s legging out a single) and throwing to 3rd from 1st; he should, above all, stop catching.

  6. samiratou - Feb 23, 2011 at 2:24 PM

    I agree that the Twins are paying Mauer to be a batter and not a catcher and they need to find a way to maximize their value in that regard. I seem to recall reading a comparison of his 2009 to 2010 stats and why he was so much better in 2009 and one reason being reduced time behind the plate. It didn’t hurt that he missed the first month of the season, but when he gets more breaks from being a catcher he hits better. And could potentially have 700 at bats in a season instead of less than 600. Paying a guy that much to play in less than 140 games is ridiculous.

    • cur68 - Feb 23, 2011 at 2:46 PM

      man I wish I’d said all this instead…I totally, unequivocally agree.

    • nicosamuelson2 - Feb 24, 2011 at 11:29 AM

      Um, I am pretty sure the Twins are paying Mauer to be a catcher, not a “batter.” You don’t pay 180 million dollars for a 1B/DH with limited power.

  7. nick5253 - Feb 23, 2011 at 3:35 PM

    Obviously Mauer’s bat will play anywhere in the lineup. However, they need to keep him at C as long as possible because:

    C \ 1B \ DH
    Mauer \ Morneau \ Kubel

    is FAR FAR FAR better than
    Butera \ Morneau \ Mauer

    Moving Mauer is not the problem, it is replacing his production from a normal HOLE in the line-up that is the catcher position.

    • buddygrant - Feb 23, 2011 at 5:11 PM

      Absolutely, playing catcher is a major part of his value and a big reason for his contract. The ‘move Mauer to a safer position’ conversation started about 5 or 6 years ago, and I’m happy the Twins have kept him at his natural spot.

  8. jeffhamman - Feb 24, 2011 at 3:19 AM

    As long as Joe Mauer hits like he can, he will be playing somewhere for a long time. Hopefully it will be with the twins. Even if he can’t play catcher anymore he’s one of the best hitters in the game.

  9. rapmusicmademedoit - Feb 24, 2011 at 6:11 PM

    it is obvious the guy did not want it out there he has to use a lube, a man would never tell anyone he needed a lube job. come on gardy you shouldn’t have done that.

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