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Strained oblique muscle sends Joe Mauer to the disabled list

Jul 2, 2014, 11:15 AM EDT

joe mauer getty Getty Images

Joe Mauer was finally beginning to look like his old self following last year’s season-ending concussion and a terrible start to this season, hitting .320 over his last 20 games, but last night he suffered a strained oblique muscle while hitting a double to extend his hitting streak to 12 games.

That’s almost never a quick-healing injury and Mauer revealed after the game that he’s actually been playing through discomfort for about a week, so the Twins have already placed him on the disabled list and called up first baseman/outfielder Chris Colabello from Triple-A to replace him on the roster.

Mauer’s move from catcher to first base had Twins fans hopeful that his already strong production would increase, but instead he’s hit a career-worst .271 with two homers and a career-worst .695 OPS in 76 games while striking out more than ever. His recent hot streak was reason for optimism, but now Mauer will be out for at least two weeks and probably closer to a month.

  1. wonkypenguin - Jul 2, 2014 at 11:47 AM

    So is this a result of years and years as a catcher or just an age-fueled decline?

    • dluxxx - Jul 2, 2014 at 12:21 PM

      Umm, maybe it’s just a pulled oblique muscle, which has been a very common injury over the last few years…

      http://www.ericcressey.com/oblique-strains-in-baseball-2011-update

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/nationals/washington-nationals-this-season-oblique-injuries-are-ubiquitous/2012/07/19/gJQAgpbrwW_story.html

      http://www.sportingnews.com/mlb/story/2014-04-25/baltimore-orioles-chris-davis-kansas-city-royals-injury-update-status-strained-left-oblique

      • dluxxx - Jul 2, 2014 at 12:25 PM

        Or, you could, you know search for “oblique injury” on HBT and see a whole bunch of articles on position players, pitcher, etc. all having oblique injuries over the last few years. Lots and lots of content on that.

  2. moogro - Jul 2, 2014 at 12:24 PM

    Age decline. And marital problems.

  3. pwshrugged - Jul 2, 2014 at 12:44 PM

    Well, at least it’s not another flare up of bilateral leg weakness.

  4. irishlad19 - Jul 2, 2014 at 2:30 PM

    Sad to watch a top talent decline rapidly due to frequent injury issues.

  5. mplsjoe - Jul 2, 2014 at 4:47 PM

    As I said in another thread, the worst part about this is that it will allow the “Mauer is a wuss or a faker” crowd to bleet away. Facts be damned. Also, I’ve been hearing so much about how much Mauer sucks that having him out of the lineup can only help, right?

    Oh wait, the team was shut out today without Mauer. By the Royals.

    • TBaySlim - Jul 2, 2014 at 5:15 PM

      I dont think mauer is a wuss, but i am in the camp that think the twins are better off with out him and getting a real first basemen, i mean getting a guy to hit 2 bumps .270 ave an 20 sum rbi on the cheap wouldnt be that hard to find. Yes so they got shut out today, odds are just as good they would have been shut out with him in the line as well, averages say the twins could find a better player an would be better off with out him

      • mplsjoe - Jul 2, 2014 at 5:24 PM

        Twins could find a better player than Mauer for cheaper?

        Tony Gwynn: .338 AVG, .388 OBP, .459 SLG, .847 OPS, 132 OPS+
        Joe Mauer: .320 AVG, .401 OBP, .461 SLG, .863 OPS, 133 OPS+

        THROUGH AGE 31 KIRBY MAUER
        Batting Average .320 .321
        On-Base Percentage .357 .403
        Slugging Percentage .466 .463
        OPS .823 .866
        Wins Above Replacement 35.8 44.7

        Presented without comment: Joe Mauer is 31 years old. Here are his career numbers with four months left in his age-31 season compared to Derek Jeter’s career numbers through age 31:

        THROUGH AGE 31 JETER MAUER
        Batting Average .314 .321
        On-Base Percentage .386 .403
        Slugging Percentage .461 .463
        OPS .847 .866
        Wins Above Replacement 48.4 44.7

        Damn reality, always interfering…

  6. TBaySlim - Jul 3, 2014 at 8:13 AM

    OR- instead of compairing career numbers you compare Mauers last 3 years to show his progressive decline. Because lets be honest hes not winning another batting title and at this rate you would be hard pressed to get 125 games a year out of him. So yes, i live in reality, at the current moment you could find many many players better then mauer for much less. stop living in the past bud.

  7. paulkoopman - Jul 3, 2014 at 10:20 AM

    Progressive decline for the last 3 years? I have no idea who you’re talking about, but it’s not Joe Mauer. He had a career best OPS+ in 2009, at 171, followed by 140 in 2010, and 102 in 2011. That’s a type of “progressive decline”. But then he rebounded with two more 140 seasons in 2012 and 2013. The concussion ended his season last year, and as with lots of other players, it’s taking him some time to come back from that. That’s not progressive decline, that’s a process of recovery from a brain injury. Baseball history is littered with star-caliber players who struggled for a season or even more while they dealt with injury problems, and then recovered a good deal, if not all, of their form at some point. There’s no reason to believe Joe won’t recover. The oblique injury is irritating, but it’s not indicative of “wuss-ness”, or of any sort of “progressive decline”.

    • TBaySlim - Jul 3, 2014 at 11:39 AM

      Injuries are often part of a players decline bud, thats sports. but if you are going to look at stats, then dont just look at one stat an state hes not on the decline…

      average stats 2004-2010 for mauer
      average hr rbi obp war

      .323 11.5 67.4 .401 4.74 average salary 4,822,142

      average stats 2011-Present
      average hr rbi obp war
      .300 6.5 47.5 .380 2.95 average salary 23,000,000

      This to me along with other factors would show a general decline of a player, injuries included.

      • paulkoopman - Jul 3, 2014 at 12:12 PM

        Well at least we’ve gone from progressive decline to general decline, that’s “progress”. Let’s be clear – I didn’t “state hes not on the decline”. I said Joe Mauer has not been in a state of “progressive decline” over the past 3 seasons. Most players peak, and then enter a phase of “general decline”, and Mauer’s not likely to be any different. If we’re looking for a return to his MVP season form, we’re not being realistic. But neither is it realistic to imagine that his performance so far in 2014 is likely to be the new normal for him. His 2012 was excellent, and his pre-injury 2013 was arguably even better. Concussions are serious, but there’s no reason to believe his concussion has ruined his career.

        As for your stat comparison, let’s look. Average and rbi are basically meaningless regarding his real production, so throw those out. WAR drop is primarily a function of moving to 1B, which wasn’t something he was in control of. As for home runs and OBP, his production while on the field in 2012 and 2013 are better than his career average, even leaving in the anomaly of 2009. Are injuries part of the game? Sure. So is injury *recovery*, bud. At 31, there’s no good evidence that he can’t recover from the major injury suffered in 2013.

      • paulkoopman - Jul 3, 2014 at 12:28 PM

        ETA – my WAR comment was off base – he didn’t move to 1B full time until this season. You can probably insert that in with HR and OBP, in categories where he is clearly not at peak level ala 2009, but neither is he in a progressive decline. His terrible 2011 was injury plagued, and 2014 so far has been in recovery mode. 2012 and 2013 WARs fit fairly well within his overall career outline.

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