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Continued: Twins goal this season: Make Mauer an Everyday Joe

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Last update: March 29, 2014 - 10:41 PM

“He’s always been fearless, and probably still is. But now you don’t have the [catcher’s] gear on. So you’ve got to get out of the way,” said Kelly, who has played and taught the position for more than 40 years. “We’ve covered some things about keeping from straying into the basepath. Getting your arm out of the way, your wrist, your legs. Basic stuff, but it’s new to him.”

New and necessary, because the Twins, who haven’t gotten more than 107 games in the field from Mauer since 2008, are intent upon him staying healthy. Mauer has noted to anyone who will listen how much better his body feels, freed from all the squatting behind the plate.

“Believe me, he wants to do very well. That’s his personality, that’s why he’s as good as he is. He’ll work hard at it,” Kelly said. “If he doesn’t do very well, I’d be shocked.”

Mauer was shocked, he said, at how much he still had to learn after playing the position part-time for a couple of years. No longer just a break from his real job, first base is a test he intends to ace.

“I was talking to [converted Boston Red Sox catcher] Mike Napoli — ‘Yeah, it’s not as easy as people think, huh?’ ” Mauer said. “But that’s exciting. I love challenges. I love to learn new things about this game. I’m always trying to get better, always trying to pick things up and apply them. And now I have a pretty big thing to learn.”

And baseball can learn something more about Mauer, same as he ever was. “Once people get to know me, they realize I’m really not that cool. You know, ‘Oh, it’s just Joe,’ ” said the extraordinary ordinary man. “I like being that guy. I feel pretty normal at home, and I try to keep it that way.”


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Washington 0
Pittsburgh 7 FINAL
Detroit 3
Miami 3 FINAL
St. Louis 2
Boston - WP: K. Couch 11 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: C. Reavis 8
NY Yankees - LP: M. Tanaka 1 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: T. Milone 3
Tampa Bay 4 FINAL
Baltimore 3
Philadelphia 6 FINAL
Toronto 10
Chicago Cubs 15 FINAL
Texas 10
Cincinnati - WP: M. Lorenzen 10 FINAL
Milwaukee - LP: M. Fiers 4
Colorado 3 FINAL
San Francisco 4
Chicago WSox 2 FINAL
Los Angeles 1
Seattle 6 FINAL
Cleveland 8
Oakland - WP: J. Fuller 13 FINAL
LA Angels - LP: B. Loconsole 10
Texas 7 FINAL
Arizona 8
Houston 8 FINAL
Atlanta 5
Kansas City 4 FINAL
San Diego 1
Atlanta 95 FINAL
Detroit 105
Indiana 106 FINAL
Brooklyn 111
San Antonio 95 FINAL
Miami 81
Golden State 110 FINAL
LA Clippers 106
New Jersey 2 FINAL(OT)
Columbus 3
Carolina 2 FINAL
Washington 4
Florida 2 FINAL
Boston 3
Ottawa 2 FINAL(SO)
Detroit 1
Tampa Bay 1 FINAL
Toronto 3
NY Rangers 3 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Vancouver 5 FINAL(SO)
Nashville 4
UT Martin 66 FINAL
Evansville 79
Miami-Florida 60 FINAL
Temple 57
Northern Ariz 68
Stanford 67 FINAL
Old Dominion 60
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