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Joe Mauer forced to play right field for short-handed Twins

Aug 18, 2011, 5:07 PM EDT

Joe Mauer high five AP

Michael Cuddyer, Denard Span, and Matt Tolbert are injured, Jason Kubel is away from the team for a family emergency, and call-up Luke Hughes missed his flight to Target Field, so manager Ron Gardenhire had to improvise tonight’s Twins lineup and the result is Joe Mauer making his professional debut in right field.

Prior to this season Mauer had never played anywhere but catcher and designated hitter, but he’s been seeing significant action at first base since returning from the disabled list and will now give the outfield a try. And unless Hughes shows up during the game, Minnesota will face the Yankees with zero healthy players on the bench.

While far from a speedster, Mauer has the athleticism to potentially be an asset defensively in right field and his arm will certainly come in handy if any runners try to take an extra base. For now the Twins have said that Mauer remains in their plans primarily as a catcher, but third base and right field are potentially intriguing destinations if they decide to move the former MVP out from behind the plate more often in 2012.

  1. banksatdixie - Aug 18, 2011 at 5:23 PM

    “Mauer has the athleticism to potentially be an asset defensively in right field and his arm will certainly come in handy if any runners try to take an extra base.”

    Throwing runners out from the outfield is completely different than throwing runners out from behind the plate. If nothing else, I would expect the Yankees to exploit his arm in right field.

    • clydeserra - Aug 18, 2011 at 5:31 PM

      What do you mean?

      Certainly cater throwing is as much about getting rid of the ball as strength, but Mauer does have a strong arm.

    • kopy - Aug 18, 2011 at 5:46 PM

      As a Twins fan, I hope the Yankees run on him too.

    • FC - Aug 18, 2011 at 5:47 PM

      I would expect the Yankees to exploit his arm in right field.

      No way man, Troy Polamalu will just teleport the baseball to the right base and tag the runner out. That’s a dangerous duo to run against in the OF.

  2. avaughn02 - Aug 18, 2011 at 5:36 PM

    dude ur dumb mauer has a cannon arm doesnt matter where ur throwing from these are pros not highschool jv

  3. sknut - Aug 18, 2011 at 5:41 PM

    If its true that Hughes missed his flight, that can’t make the Twins especially Gardy very happy with that. Joe C of the Startribune stated he had ‘flight problems’ but didn’t offer any more details. As a Twins fan its just comical at this point.

    • kopy - Aug 18, 2011 at 5:58 PM

      Brings you back to the good ol’ days of the (not real early) 90s, doesn’t it?

      • kopy - Aug 18, 2011 at 6:03 PM

        Oh and Gardenhire just said that Hughes missed his flight because he was at the wrong gate. Sooo I’ll let you decide for yourself if that’s any sort of good reason.

      • sknut - Aug 18, 2011 at 6:38 PM

        Yeah thats not a good reason, but really part of this goes on Billy Smith too often they wait to put guys on the DL and play with a short bench. It was comical last night when Tolbert after pinch running for Thome had to just bunt with the bases loaded last night because he can’t swing a bat.

  4. proudlycanadian - Aug 18, 2011 at 6:01 PM

    I just hope that at the end of the game we can say “Well played Mauer”.

  5. Amadeus - Aug 18, 2011 at 7:23 PM

    about time he started earning the 140 mil or whatever the Twins overpaid for him.

  6. cackalackyank - Aug 18, 2011 at 10:39 PM

    So this guy Hughes…is he related to Forest Gump?

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