Minneapolis, MN, United States (4E Sports) – Joe Mauer admitted that he’s starting to get used to his new role as first baseman after playing catcher for most of his career with the Minnesota Twins.
The 30-year-old Mauer decided to give up catching duties after he sustained a season-ending concussion on a foul tip on Aug. 19.
Before making the move, Mauer consulted the Twins management, team doctors, doctors from the Mayo Clinic and his family.
He said it wasn’t a difficult decision because of the health risks associated with concussions and the increased likelihood of sustaining one while catching.
“It wasn’t a tough decision, but it was just because I love to catch and I’ve put in so much work to become the catcher that I was,” Mauer said. “I think I kept visiting different doctors hoping that somebody would tell that it was OK to get back behind there.”
Mauer also took the advice of former Twins first baseman Justin Morneau after the latter sustained a well-documented, season-ending concussion in July 2010.
The concussion symptoms continued to plague Morneau the next season and nearly derailed his career.
“He actually told me, ‘Joe, you need to move. It’s just not worth it.’” Mauer said. “That’s coming from a guy who experienced a lot of the things that I was going through. He was very supportive in that. He’s thinking about me as a friend, not just as a teammate.”
The Twins remain hopeful that the move will allow Mauer to play more this season, as he won’t need regular breaks from playing first base like he did while catching.
“I think I’m going to be able to write him in the lineup an awful lot this year, which we have to have,” manager Ron Gardenhire said.
The Twins have added Kurt Suzuki and youngster Josmil Pinto to fill Mauer’s spot.