MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Minnesota Twins made a significant announcement involving star catcher Joe Mauer on Monday about his future with the team.
Twins officials announced that Mauer will no longer catch for the team and instead will take over full-time duties at first base starting next season. The move was prompted after Mauer missed the last month of the 2013 season with a concussion, likely from taking several foul tips while catching. Mauer consulted with team doctors and doctors from the Mayo Clinic, and was told the move is in his best interest.
“A little disappointing that this concussion kind of had to make that decision for me a little sooner than I had hoped,” Mauer said during a teleconference.
Mauer has suffered several injuries while playing catcher for the Twins, despite earning MVP honors and three batting titles at the position. He has five years remaining on his $23-million-a-year contract, and the move was made to extend his major league playing career.
Mauer was hitting .324 last season with 11 home runs 47 RBI in 113 games before suffering the concussion. Twins officials said Mauer is now symptom free. He’s played 56 career games at first base, with just four errors in 536 chances.
However, Mauer said he’ll miss playing catcher — not because the position is glamorous, but because it’s important.
“Just helping a pitcher along during the course of a game, and getting the best out of him that day,” he said.
The move also means it’s highly doubtful the Twins will pursue former player Justin Morneau, who is entering free agency after they traded him to the Pittsburgh Pirates.