As it turns out, Joe Mauer has more than a sore neck.
Mauer was placed on the 10-day disabled list Saturday because of a cervical strain that includes some concussion-like symptoms. But the Twins maintain that Mauer doesn’t officially have a concussion.
Twins manager Paul Molitor said when Mauer came out in the fifth inning of Friday’s game because his neck “locked up” on him, he also had problems with balance and sensitivity to light.
The Twins took no chances, deciding to put Mauer through a Sport Concussion Assessment Tool 5 test — a standardized concussion screening tool. Mauer tested well, but the fact he showed some symptoms led the club to place him on the disabled list.
“I’m not a doctor, you guys all know that, so I’m trying to be careful,” Molitor said. “We did the SCAT 5 test postgame. I’ve been told it’s not either a pass/fail type of test. He did well enough on that portion of it, which you know did not allow us to go ahead and label it as being concussed or anything like that.
“I know that there are some things related to when you snap your head back that can cause similar type of symptoms, so I think we’re a little bit careful on how we want to label it, but obviously they are concussion-like symptoms, but we haven’t been able to confirm that.”
Mauer initially hurt his neck May 11 when he ran into foul territory along the right field line then dived for a popup. He was able to play in the following games, but the neck gave him more problems Friday, forcing him from the game against the Brewers.
“Just been coming in and getting treatment and trying to get out there every day,” Mauer said after Friday’s game, “but [Friday] I got out there and it started to stiffen up and get a little worse.”
The Twins will be extremely careful with their best on-base artist. The concussion Mauer suffered in August 2013 was career-altering, forcing him to give up catching and move to first base. It also triggered three seasons in which he didn’t bat above .277.
That slump ended last season when he batted .305 with a .384 on-base percentage. This year, Mauer is batting .283, and his .404 on-base percentage is seventh best in the American League.
“He’s gonna be home for a couple of days,” Molitor said. “Just trying to see where it goes. We’ll be in communication with him.”
It’s the last thing the Twins need as they try to end a slump with Mauer, Miguel Sano, Ervin Santana, Trevor May and Jason Castro on the disabled list and Jorge Polanco serving a PED-related suspension.
The Twins called up outfielder Jake Cave to take Mauer’s place on the roster.
The Twins called up outfielder Jake Cave from Class AAA Rochester to take Mauer's spot on the roster.
Lorenzo Cain, CF
Christian Yelich, LF
Jesus Aguilar, DH
Travis Shaw, 3B
Domingo Santana, RF
Ji-Man Choi, 1B
Jonathan Villar, 2B
Manny Pina, C
Orlando Arcia, SS
Freddy Peralta, RHP
Brian Dozier, 2B
Max Kepler, RF
Eddie Rosario, LF
Eduardo Escobar, 3B
Logan Morrison, 1B
Robbie Grossman, DH
Jake Cave, CF
Ehire Adrianza, SS
Bobby Wilson, C
Fernando Romero, RHP