Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Joe Mauer Update - When Will Joe Mauer Catch Again?

According to multiple sources, Twins fans won’t have to wait much longer. This Friday is the day that Joe Mauer is scheduled to be back behind the plate for the Twins. Mauer has finished his rehab stint and according to Joe Nathan, he has looked good; “It’s nice to see Joe swinging like the old Joe again. I threw him some pretty good pitches that he laid some good wood on. It’s amazing what he can do with a 0-2 pitch.”

Mauer comes back just in time for the Twins to continue their current run, winning 10 of their last 12 and hoping to keep the streak alive. There are some people out there that wonder if Mauer will be the Mauer we saw last year, or if he will continue to be the Mauer from this year. Currently this year he is only hitting .235 in 9 games. That might not sound great, but when both of the catchers the Twins currently have on the roster aren’t even sniffing .200, Joe will be welcomed with open arms.

The Twins currently sit 10 games behind the division leading Tigers. Again, not a great number, but considering where they were a month ago, 17 games back, that number seems like an ant hill to climb instead of Pikes Peak. As I said on Monday’s podcast, if the Twins can cut the lead to 5 by the All-Star break, July 12th, they will win the division. With a healthy Joe Mauer, I couldn’t feel safer about my prediction.

I do wonder though how he will be accepted by the fans and his teammates. There were rumors of some players being angry with Joe and wanting him to “man up”. One of those rumored players was Kevin Slowey. Slowey refused to pitch a few times and was seen yawning during said games, almost mocking the organization. It was rumored that he had a “If Mauer doesn’t have to play hurt, than why should I?” attitude. It is a very childish take if you ask me. But, it does make me wonder if that opinion was shared with other teammates, or if it was just Slowey that felt that way.

I think, wait, I know that the Twins fans love Joe. We are a state of “homers” after all and I think it will be one great big love fest on Friday. Do I think it should be? No. But, Joe is one of us and Twins fans are so desperate for something to go right for the team this year, I believe it will be one giant bear hug. I think fans should clap when he is introduced in the starting lineup, but nothing more than what they would do if he was in the lineup all year and starting in the 67th game of the season. Don’t get me wrong, I am a Mauer fan, but at some point, he needs to stop being babied.

Being a big Twins fan, I do think this is a great thing. I hope it’s the first of many injured players, Thome, Morneau, Nathan, Kubel, Span etc., to get back into the everyday lineup. Like I said above, the Twins are 10 games back, but as every Twins fan knows, you can never count this team out. Hopefully, for the fans sake, the Twins pull it together soon enough and win this division easily. After the way this season has started, we deserve it.


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