Postgame: If Mauer goes on disabled list, who replaces him?
- Blog Post by: Phil Miller
- July 2, 2014 - 12:38 AM
A trio of final thoughts after the Twins' first 10-run romp since April 11:
MAUER'S PROBABLY OUT: Players usually try to stay optimistic about injuries, a stiff-upper-lip approach that insists that "maybe it'll feel better tomorrow," and "I might miss a game or two." But Joe Mauer didn't try to hide how stiff he felt after suffering a strained oblique on Tuesday (you can watch him on video here), and while he noted that he's never had this injury before, there didn't seem to be much doubt about where the three-time batting champion is headed now: The disabled list. "It felt like somebody hit me right there," was how Mauer described the pain. Maybe it's not as serious as it sounds, but Mauer said the injury has been bothering him for a week, so it's hard to imagine the Twins risking further damage by rushing him back, especially since the All-Star break would extend his recovery time by another four days. Unless he makes a fast recovery, expect a roster move on Wednesday.
WHO'S COMING? But what would that roster move be? One easy swap is to recall Chris Colabello, who didn't hit well at Class AAA Rochester after the Twins sent him down in May, but who has batted .319 with three homers (and 14 strikeouts) in his last 12 games. The Twins thought Colabello loses his swing when he doesn't play for several days, so I'm not certain they'd bring him back to be a part-time player. (By the way: Colabello STILL has more major-league RBIs this year than Mauer, not to mention Josh Willingham and Oswaldo Arcia.) Another possibility is an outfielder, since Chris Parmelee -- the backup center fielder until Danny Santana is healthy again -- figures to play first base with Mauer out. But the only other outfielders on the 40-man roster are Max Kepler, who's been hurt and who's at Class A, Chris Herrmann, who's also been hurt lately, and Aaron Hicks, who's batting .190 at New Britain. One other possibility? How about Kennys Vargas, who has 14 home runs at New Britain? I'd normally say that it's not like the Twins to take such a raw player, but they haven't been shy about giving Santana and Jorge Polanco a look, and this one would only be temporary. We'll see what the Twins decide.
DOUBLY GOOD: Trevor Plouffe went only 1-for-5 on Tuesday, but the hit was a double, continuing a remarkable season for him. The season is only half over, Plouffe has played 66 games of it, and he's already collected 23 doubles this year, tied with Eduardo Escobar (who's also having a strong year) for fourth in the AL, despite missing the past two weeks with a rib injury. The team record is 47 doubles in a season, set by Justin Morneau in 2008, so it's possible one of the two infielders could challenge that team record. On the other hand, as @Very_Well_Then pointed out on Twitter, Chuck Knoblauch had 45 in 1994, fifth most in franchise history, and he did it in just 109 games, because the season was called off by a strike on Aug. 11. Who knows how far out Knoblauch might have put that record.
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