Twins manager Ron Gardenhire will sit a struggling player down if he feels he needs a break. That includes Joe Mauer, sort of.
Despite Mauer looking as ineffective at the plate as he ever has, Gardenhire will continue to start the three-time batting champion in hopes that he will find his old stroke, because he’s supposed to be a big part of the Twins offense.
“We haven’t seen him scuffle [before],” Gardenhire said. “He’s going through a little bit of a rough period right now.”
Mauer was 1-for-4 on Sunday with an intentional walk. In his past 15 games, Mauer is batting .194 with no homers — and only two walks — in 64 plate appearances. He is batting .175 with runners in scoring position.
The move to first base was designed to put Mauer in position to be more productive. So far, it hasn’t worked, and there have been occasional boos at Target Field when he makes outs. Gardenhire believes Mauer has made solid contact at times but doesn’t have much to show for it.
Mauer did have back troubles early in May, but Gardenhire said on Sunday that Mauer isn’t injured.
“He’s fine. He’s healthy,” Gardenhire said. “I talked with him a couple days ago. He feels great. He feels as good as he ever has.
“He’s just got to keep swinging. We need him to swing. We need him to get hits.”