Souhan: With Joe, Gardy, the rest is a mystery

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 7, 2011 - 9:31 AM

When should the All-Star catch, DH or take a break? The answer got a lot more difficult for the manager regarding Friday's home opener.

NEW YORK - I asked Joe Mauer if he was aware that Minnesotans go crazy when he's not in the lineup.

"I go nuts, too,'' he said.

It was Wednesday night. The Twins' game at Yankee Stadium had just been postponed.

Mauer's name did not appear in the Wednesday lineup, as catcher or designated hitter, even though he has a career .419 average against scheduled Yankees starter Freddy Garcia.

This is where the simple act of a manager resting a catcher with a history of leg ailments becomes fascinating and mysterious.

The manager, Ron Gardenhire, is charged with preserving Mauer's health and effectiveness over the course of an eight-year, $184 million contract.

Gardenhire said that Twins starter Carl Pavano preferred the "low target'' offered by backup catcher Drew Butera. Gardenhire said that because Mauer needs regular days off, and Pavano and Butera work well together, that he could regularly catch Pavano.

What's strange is that Pavano denied ever requesting Butera as his regular catcher. And that Mauer and Butera were similarly effective when catching Pavano last year. Mauer caught Pavano in 17 games, in which Pavano compiled an ERA of 3.79. Butera caught Pavano in 15 games, in which Pavano compiled an ERA of 3.65.

"I don't know anything about that,'' Pavano said about having a personal catcher. "Those are decisions that Gardy and Andy [Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson] make.''

Does he prefer Butera?

"No, no, not at all,'' Pavano said. "I think last year it just so happened that a lot of times it fell, and I had great success with Drew, and I've had success with Joe, too.''

Gardenhire said that Mauer needs regular rest, and that a day spent as a DH didn't provide adequate rest.

"I'm like everybody else,'' Gardenhire said. "I'd love to have Mauer playing all the time. I'm no different than any fan out there, sitting in your rocking chair or your arm chair, saying, 'I want Mauer in the lineup all the time.' Believe me, I like that, too.

"But catchers need days [off], and this is a great opportunity to give him one, at least, a week, with Pavano pitching. Then to say, 'DH him,' well, that's not really a day off, because he hits more than most people and he runs around the bases. It's about his legs, and giving him a day off is to keep him off the field.''

How does Gardenhire decide when Mauer will rest?

"I always check with him every day,'' Gardenhire said. "If he gives me one of these, 'Let me get up and move around and see how I do,' then I pretty much know he's sore.''

I asked Mauer if there is a plan for resting him, and how he feels about being out of the lineup.

"There's no specific plan,'' he said.

Has he identified an ideal number of games he should play?

"I've always said that I don't like it when I'm not in the lineup,'' he said. "If I'm in the lineup, I want to be behind the plate.

"Obviously, I'd like to catch more than I would like to DH.''

Would he have wanted to DH on Wednesday, given that Butera was the scheduled catcher and Mauer has crushed Garcia?

"I just know I want to play,'' he said. "It doesn't matter who's on the mound, whether I have good numbers or bad numbers.''

To be clear, how does he feel about DHing?

"I'd rather DH than sit,'' he said. "Definitely.''

So what happens Friday, when, on Opening Day at Target Field, Pavano pitches, and a sellout crowd expects to see St. Paul's own on the field? Who catches?

"One of those two guys who are on the roster,'' Gardenhire said. "I haven't gotten that far yet.''

But it's the home opener ...

"It doesn't matter, we've got Pavano pitching,'' Gardenhire said. Then he pointed at me and said: "Write it up. Write who you think should catch. I'll let you make the decisions.''

Thank you, Ron. I'd put the $184 million former MVP and batting champ from St. Paul in the Opening Day lineup at Target Field. I don't care whether he catches or serves as DH.

That wasn't so tough, was it?

Jim Souhan can be heard Sundays from 10 a.m. to noon and weekdays at 2:40 p.m. on 1500ESPN. His Twitter name is Souhanstrib. •

  • related content

  • Joe Mauer

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
Detroit «00100002X340
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:D.Price(15-12) L:K.Gibson(13-12) S:J.Nathan (35)
HR: MIN- None DET- I.Kinsler (17)


San Francisco - M. Bumgarner 7:07 PM
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington 6:00 PM
Carolina 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh 6:30 PM
Montreal 7:30 PM
Arizona 8:00 PM
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Is Paul Molitor the best choice to manage Twins?

Weekly Question