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Mauer wants to play every day

  • Article by: La Velle E. Neal III
  • Star Tribune
  • June 8, 2007 - 11:15 PM

Twins catcher Joe Mauer, who returned to action Friday after missing 29 games because of a strained left quadriceps muscle, said he intends to stay on the field as much as possible.

But he declined to respond to comments made by outfielder Torii Hunter suggesting Mauer's the kind of player who needs to be 100 percent healthy to play.

"I'm not going to get into that," Mauer said while grinning.

Mauer wants to move forward after a frustrating month during which he was forced to be patient with the slow-healing injury. He was activated from the 15-day disabled list on Thursday after working out for three days at Fort Myers, Fla. He caught nine innings for Class A Fort Myers on Wednesday.

"I'd like to be in the lineup every day I can," he said. "That means if I need a day off from catching, then hopefully I'm a DH."

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire wouldn't rule out using Mauer as a DH, although the training staff has told him Mauer has had trouble staying loose on the bench between at-bats.

"You'd love to be able to do that," Gardenhire said. "You have to see how his body feels."

Mauer was cheered as he walked to the bullpen to warm up Carlos Silva before the game.

Torii's take

Hunter also has made news for his support of Tigers outfielder Gary Sheffield, who made headlines a week ago when he said there are more Latin American players in Major League Baseball than African-Americans because Latin American players are easier to control.

Hunter, speaking to Fox Sports Radio recently, didn't make comments as strong as Sheffield's.

"You can go to Latin America and get that same talent as a black player in Compton [Calif.], and if he's in Compton, he gets drafted in the first round he's going to get $2 million," Hunter told the station. "If he doesn't pan out, you're out $2 million, but if you go to the Dominican, Cuba or whatever, and you can get a guy for $2,000 and he doesn't pan out, you're only down $2,000. I do agree that, you know, 10 years from now you'll see no blacks, at all."

Hunter didn't back down from his comments after the game.

"What I said is what I said," Hunter said. "That's not the main reason why African-Americans aren't playing the game. It's a small percentage, like maybe 5 percent."

Luis the Great

The Twins presented Luis Castillo with Twins jersey No. 143 and a crystal sculpture. Castillo last month set the record for consecutive errorless games by a second baseman, which ended on Wednesday at 143. Castillo also set a record for a second baseman with 647 consecutive errorless chances.

Rotation renovation

With an off day on Monday, the Twins plan to skip Kevin Slowey or Scott Baker in the rotation.

"We're still in the process of talking about that," Gardenhire said. "Johan [Santana] will stay on five days [rest], along with [Carlos] Silva. We'll make an adjustment around that."

That means Silva's next start will be Wednesday against Atlanta, with Santana pitching Thursday.

Etc.

• Justin Morneau attended Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Wednesday and, yes, he had a picture taken of him holding the cup after Anaheim won the championship.

• Lefthander Carmen Cali has thrown 42/3 scoreless innings in six outings since being called up from Class AAA Rochester.

La Velle E. Neal III • lneal@startribune.com

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