Mauer to the hot corner? Too early to say

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 30, 2012 - 11:29 PM

The Twins' Joe Mauer went 3-for-4 in Sunday's loss to the Tigers, raising his average to .323, while the league leader, Detroit's Miguel Cabrera, went 0-for-3 with a walk, falling to .325.

Photo: Jim Mone, Associated Press

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With three games to go, Twins catcher Joe Mauer has a fourth batting title well within his reach.

Mauer went 3-for-4 in Sunday's loss to the Tigers, raising his average to .323, while the league leader, Detroit's Miguel Cabrera, went 0-for-3 with a walk, falling to .325.

All this came on a day the press had a new question for Mauer: How would he feel about playing third base?

With Trevor Plouffe struggling, manager Ron Gardenhire has been asked repeatedly in recent days about trying Mauer at third base. Gardenhire says he would talk to Mauer before giving it serious thought.

Until last year, Mauer's only defensive position was catcher, but now that he's adjusted to first base, what about the hot corner?

"Third base -- that's the first I've heard of it," Mauer said. "I haven't even wrapped my head around it, so if that is the case, hopefully I have some time to prepare for it. But I think I've said this all along: I think we're a better team when I'm behind the plate."

Coaches' contracts up

Gardenhire is under contract through 2013, but the contracts for all of his coaches expire this fall. The Twins have replaced just one coach since Gardenhire became manager in 2002P: Al Newman left the staff after the 2005 season, and Joe Vavra came aboard, becoming the hitting coach, with Scott Ullger moving to third-base coach.

With the Twins at 66-93 after losing 99 games last year, more changes could be coming.

"There's no sense in putting the fear of God in everybody in that clubhouse," General Manager Terry Ryan said. "Everybody knows we have decisions we have to make and they will be made sooner rather than later. So we'll leave it at that."

Gardenhire wants to keep the entire group.

"I've been surrounded by a staff that -- they're my friends, but they're workers," Gardenhire said. "They're out there every day getting it done. So there's a comfort zone. I have all the faith that they can do the job.

"But some of these things aren't going to be left up to me. It's going to be left to ownership and Terry. If [Ryan] thinks change is needed, he's going to talk to the owners and we'll go from there."

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