Mauer says he's healthy, happy

Joe Mauer is feeling great and eager to prove that his disastrous 2011 season was a fluke.

hide

Joe Mauer

Photo: Paul Battaglia, Associated Press - Ap

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The home clubhouse at Target Field was cold and largely empty Friday, except for a sideburned, lefthanded-hitting catcher who had just completed his latest muscle-building session designed to help him forget the 2011 season.

Joe Mauer, wearing a Gophers sweatshirt and gray sweatpants, summoned a handful of reporters -- no cameras, please -- to the ballpark to let those interested know that he's healthy, stronger and already looking ahead to 2012.

And when he says healthy, he means healthy.

"Here I am. I'm healthy. I'm happy," Mauer said. "I can rule out crazy things I've heard like Lyme disease, Lou Gehrig's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus. I think we've heard it all. I don't have any of those things."

Mauer said he wanted to talk because he's had time to reflect on last season and think about things he wants to do differently in the future.

"I'm getting really excited for next season," he said. "I've recovered from pneumonia [which ended his season in mid-September]. I think you might be able to tell I've got my weight back. I've been working out for a couple of weeks. ... Everything looks good, and I should be ready to go Day 1 of camp."

Mauer has spent the week working out at Target Field. It's been almost a year since he had left knee surgery, which in retrospect is when his 2011 season began to go haywire.

Unable to condition properly, Mauer said he tried to make up for lost time and failed. He appeared in just 82 games, and his .287 batting average, three homers and .360 on-base percentage were career lows.

Fans looked at his stats, looked at the $23 million he made last season and seethed. Even some teammates wondered about his willingness to play injured and his work ethic

"At times. I think what surprised me a lot was a couple things out there questioning my work ethic, and that bugged me a little bit because I think guys who have been around know how hard I work and how much time I put into what I do," he said. "So that's one thing that frustrated me a little bit."

It didn't help that Mauer came down with pneumonia in September and wound up on the disabled list for the rest of the season. He visited Mayo Clinic in Rochester after the season to get the go-ahead to resume workouts. He said he's back up to his playing weight of 225 pounds and wants to report to camp at 230.

"I don't think anybody took it harder than me," Mauer said of 2011. "That's the thing. I was not a happy person last year. I was angry. I was frustrated, ultimately because I couldn't get out on the field and help my team. It's not a fun feeling coming to the park knowing you're not feeling good and that you're trying to battle every day doing the best you can."

Mauer was asked if he feels pressure to live up to expectations of fans and teammates.

"I don't think anyone has higher expectations than myself," Mauer said. "Obviously my biggest goal coming into 2012 is just to stay healthy. I think when I'm on the field things will take care of itself."

Mauer said he's not image-conscious but realizes that he should have done some things differently last season, especially when it came to articulating his health issues. He talked for 33 minutes Friday -- one of the longer media sessions of his career -- and sounded determined to be more upfront.

"I just feel that, and I've told people in the organization this, if I'm not out there playing, the fans should know why," Mauer said. "People are going to have their own opinions and you can't control that. As long as my family, my friends and the organization know what's going on that's what's important to me. You can't control what someone thinks."

Mauer, along with Twins strength and conditioning coordinator Perry Castellano, traveled to the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., where they spent a week learning about training techniques and nutritional adjustments that could help Mauer be in the best shape possible by the time pitchers and catchers report on Feb. 18. And even if Justin Morneau winds up being the designated hitter a significant amount of time, Mauer wants to be behind the plate as much as possible and only play first to keep his bat in the lineup on the days he needs a break from catching.

General Manager Terry Ryan, who walked into the clubhouse about halfway through Mauer's session, said he was pleased with the catcher's condition.

"The best barometer is the player himself," Ryan said. "If he feels good, then I feel good. You can talk to all the medical people you want; talk about what he's had and what's he's gone through and experienced, but if you ask the player and he tells you that he feels good, that gives you a pretty good sense things are going right."

Mauer said he accepts his role as a team leader, and toward that end has been in touch with free agent Michael Cuddyer about re-signing with the team. He's checked in with Denard Span, who told him he's feeling good after missing a large part of last season because of postconcussion syndrome. He had dinner last week with Justin Morneau.

On Saturday, Mauer will be host of a charity bowling event in Little Canada. Next week, he will head back to Fort Myers to continue workouts. He plans to reach out to new Twins teammates Jamey Carroll and Ryan Doumit in the near future.

And he will continue to build sweat equity as he distances himself from the most controversial season of his career.

"I'm excited," he said. "I feel good. Just getting after it in the gym. Once January comes around, more baseball activities. Throwing hitting, things like that. And it's exciting."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
Utah 101 FINAL
Orlando 94
Charlotte 109 FINAL
Philadelphia 91
Brooklyn 91 FINAL
Cleveland 95
Washington 105 FINAL
Miami 103
Minnesota 98 FINAL
Boston 114
Toronto 110 FINAL
Detroit 100
Chicago 103 FINAL
Memphis 97
Portland 129 FINAL
San Antonio 119
LA Clippers 106 FINAL
Denver 109
Oklahoma City 52 3rd Qtr
LA Lakers 50
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 3
Anaheim 2 FINAL
Ottawa 6
NY Islanders 2 FINAL
Detroit 1
Boston 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Dallas 2 FINAL
Calgary 1
Wilberforce 71 FINAL
Youngstown St 92
Jackson State 49 FINAL
Tulane 56
Siena 66 FINAL
Radford 76
Stillman 49 FINAL
Alabama 69
Case Western Reserve 65 FINAL
Bucknell 88
Niagara 62 FINAL
Buffalo 88
SD Christian 46 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 69
Concordia (MI) 60 FINAL
Central Mich 97
Northern Ill 55 FINAL
Dartmouth 58
North Florida 83 FINAL
Florida A&M 65
Hiwassee 71 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 91
Tennessee St 54 FINAL
Hampton 66
NC A&T 57 FINAL
Kent State 71
Central Penn College 65 FINAL
Liberty 94
Eastern Ky 72 FINAL
Miami-Florida 44
Northern Ky 83 FINAL
Morehead State 60
Northern Ariz 62 FINAL
Norfolk State 81
MD-Eastern Shore 43 FINAL
Old Dominion 60
St Marys-CA 47 FINAL
St Johns 53
Clemson 45 FINAL
South Carolina 68
Tenn Tech 58 FINAL
Tennessee 61
Washington-MD 46 FINAL
William & Mary 86
Bethune-Cookman 46 FINAL
Mercer 67
Furman 78 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 83
South Dakota St 53 FINAL
CS-Bakersfield 49
Milligan 53 FINAL
Lamar 80
LSU-Alexandria 71 FINAL
ULM 76
Southern Utah 57 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 73
Chattanooga 58 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 68
Seattle 57 FINAL
Minnesota 92
Lipscomb 55 FINAL
Princeton 77
Winthrop 71 FINAL
SE Louisiana 81
Dickinson State 48 FINAL
North Dakota 78
New Orleans 56 FINAL
Southern Ill 52
TX-Pan American 60 FINAL
Creighton 75
Colorado State 85 FINAL
Denver 84
Alabama A&M 49 FINAL
Marquette 83
Ark-Pine Bluff 51 FINAL
Texas Tech 72
Eastern Wash 53 2nd Half 5:30
California 64
Idaho State 50 2nd Half 1:35
Utah State 63
Arizona 21 1st Half 4:04
Texas-El Paso 19
Hawaii 10:59 PM
Chaminade
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Ohio Valley 33 FINAL
Youngstown St 84
East Tenn St 48 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 61
Cal-Irvine 44 FINAL
Purdue 69
Campbell 63 FINAL
Stetson 76
Jacksonville St 70 FINAL
Charleston Southern 43
Louisiana 64 FINAL
Alcorn State 57
Denver 63 FINAL
Wright State 72
Blue Mountain 30 FINAL
Central Arkansas 71
Texas State 51 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 40
Albany 62 FINAL
Pepperdine 36
TX-San Antonio 53 FINAL
Houston 56
Yale 66 FINAL
Bucknell 73
Northern Colorado 56 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 69
Belmont 86 FINAL
Mercer 83
Massachusetts 66 FINAL
Georgia State 71
George Mason 69 FINAL
Winthrop 57
Portland State 33 FINAL
Princeton 104
UCLA 71 FINAL
Samford 52
Mobile 30 FINAL
Alabama State 66
Nicholls 49 FINAL
Texas Tech 76
Toledo 65 FINAL
Nevada 56
UMass Lowell 48 FINAL
(13) Duke 95
St Marys-CA 49 FINAL
Virginia 62
McNeese State 55 FINAL
Rice 57
McMurry 49 FINAL
Houston Baptist 69
NJIT 62 FINAL
Seton Hall 74
(6) North Carolina 65 FINAL
Maine 36
Lafayette 58 FINAL
Stony Brook 60
Siena 62 FINAL
Binghamton 53
Longwood 56 FINAL
Clemson 72
Savannah State 51 FINAL
Florida State 97
(19) Syracuse 72 FINAL
(9) Baylor 74
Buffalo 68 FINAL
Manhattan 58
Canisius 43 FINAL
Michigan 79
Davidson 66 FINAL
NC State 82
Northern Ky 63 FINAL
Delaware 58
Saint Louis 81 FINAL
Austin Peay 86
(25) DePaul 64 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 98
Ohio U 74 FINAL
La Salle 63
Florida Atlantic 60 FINAL
Long Beach St 85
Miami-Florida 65 FINAL
Tulane 70
Miss Valley St 39 FINAL
Memphis 62
Ark-Pine Bluff 56 FINAL
UAB 65
Bowling Green 58 FINAL
Illinois State 54
Arkansas State 78 FINAL
Missouri State 62
ULM 42 FINAL
Wichita State 57
(16) Oregon State 71 FINAL
Southern Ill 55
Utah State 92 FINAL
Sacramento St 102
Utah Valley U 44 FINAL
Montana 68
Pacific 63 2nd Half 2:12
New Mexico St 60
No Dakota State 78 2nd Half 0:29
Cal State Fullerton 83
Bethesda (CA) 55 2nd Half 1:54
Fresno State 81
LSU 42 2nd Half 13:10
UC Santa Barbara 28
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Do you like the Ervin Santana signing by the Twins?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close