Twins: Mauer doesn't need to have hernia surgery

Twins catcher Joe Mauer, after several days of tests and gathering opinions, will not need hernia surgery after all, General Manager Bill Smith said Tuesday.

"Joe Mauer is doing great," Smith said. "He's had a series of opinions and ... the consensus opinion is that the hernia repair that was done three years ago is sound and requires no further treatment."

Mauer, 24, had hernia surgery while in the minors in 2002, and he admitted in late September that he battled similar problems for half of this season.

Instead of surgery, Mauer will rest for a few weeks before beginning his offseason conditioning program.

"I think everyone's goal here, especially his, is for him to get back on that field and regain the form of two years ago," Smith said.

Mauer batted .347 in 2006 and became the first AL catcher to win a batting title. But he was limited to 109 games this year because of left quadriceps and hamstring injuries.

Mauer batted .293 with seven homers and 60 RBI. He said recently that his goal for the offseason was to fine-tune his workout program to help him get through the season healthy.

Minor league hires

Bobby Cuellar, the former Class AAA Rochester pitching coach who spent the past two seasons as Pittsburgh's bullpen coach, has rejoined the organization as manager of Class AA New Britain. Riccardo Ingram, New Britain's manager in 2007, will be hitting coach at Rochester.

Jake Mauer, Joe's brother and a former Twins minor leaguer, will manage the Twins' rookie league team in the Gulf Coast League and run extended spring training. Jake Mauer, 28, was a GCL coach the past two seasons.

Former Twins minor leaguer Jeff Smith will take over as manager at Class A Fort Myers.

Fire-watching

Twins outfielder Jason Kubel lives about 20 miles north of the northernmost Southern California wildfires. He is relieved he probably won't be affected by the flames, but described the scene in the region as "pretty crazy."We live at the base of a mountain," he said, "but over the mountain, you can see the smoke."

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