Joe Mauer's concussion symptoms persist, five weeks after the foul tip that knocked him onto the disabled list, so general manager Terry Ryan decided Monday to drop any effort to return the All-Star catcher to the Twins' lineup in the season's final week.
"He's making steady progress, and a lot of favorable things going on. But with the calendar and the schedule about ready to run out, it's unrealistic for us to think we're going to get him on the field this year," general manager Terry Ryan said. "So we're going to work toward the 2014 season."
Mauer still feels sensitivity to light and noise, and has trouble outside confined spaces, he said, a result of the concussion he suffered during the Twins' game with the Mets on Aug. 19. "I was experiencing a lot of symptoms [during the] last homestand. Once the team got out of town, it really calmed down, [from] dialing back the activity," said the Twins' 30-year-old catcher. "Right now, I'm feeling good."
But he hasn't taken batting practice in weeks, hasn't squatted behind the plate in more than a month. The Twins' season ends Sunday, so even if his symptoms disappeared, he probably wouldn't be ready to play by the weekend.
That was the reason for shutting him down, Ryan stressed, not any worsening of his condition.
"There are no setbacks. I don't want you to think there are any red flags -- there are not," Ryan said. "But with all the advice we received [from] our medical people, everyone thinks the best thing to do to make this thing go as smooth as possible is to get ready for the next year."
Ryan delivered the news to Mauer over the weekend, and "it took me a few days to kind of get over that. It's frustrating not to be able to play the game," said Mauer, who finishes with a .324 batting average, 11 home runs and 47 RBIs in 113 games, the third time in his career he has played fewer than 120 games. "It's disappointing. All this time, I've been working to get back on the field. I gave it a good go, but just wasn't able to get back out there."
Meanwhile, his teammates still have seven games to play in Target Field, beginning with three games against Detroit. The Tigers can clinch their third straight A.L. Central championship as soon as tomorrow; a victory tonight insures no worse than a tie. Justin Verlander, who has pitched into the seventh inning eight times in his last nine starts, will be on the mound for the Tigers, facing Mike Pelfrey, who has gone seven innings in his last two starts combined.
Oswaldo Arcia was in the Twins' original lineup tonight, batting cleanup, but bruised his right knee while running into the right field wall during batting practice. He was scratched, and replaced by Clete Thomas. Josh Willingham moves back into the cleanup spot for the first time since Sept. 7.
Here are tonight's lineups: