La Velle E. Neal III has covered baseball for the Star Tribune since 1998 (the post-Knoblauch era). Born and raised in Chicago, he grew up following the White Sox and hating the Cubs. He attended both the University of Illinois and Illinois-Chicago and began his baseball writing career at the Kansas City Star. He can be heard occasionally on KFAN radio, lending his great baseball mind to Paul Allen and other hosts. Mark Rosen borrows him occasionally for WCCO-TV.

Mauer is busy hyping video game, talking Albert Pujols and Twins

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: February 16, 2011 - 9:02 AM

Twins catcher Joe Mauer appeared on Jimmy Fallon's show last night. Ironically, Fallon gushed over Mauer signing to remain with the hometown Twins instead of signing for more money elsewhere. Then Mauer, once again the cover boy on MLB'11 The Show video game, tested the game by beating Fallon 1-0 in a home run hitting contest.

This morning, Mauer appeared on ESPN2's, `Mike and Mike in the Morning' show, where he was asked about Pujols' contract stalemate with the Cardinals as it related to his talks with the Twins last year.

Mauer said his main concern as negotiations took place last year was for them to not be a distraction in the clubhouse.

``I'm not surprised he set a deadline because I don't think he wants to answer questions and he doesn't want it to be a distraction to the team,'' Mauer said. ``I hope everything works out for him. He's a great guy and a great player.''

Mike Golic asked Mauer about other factors in his decision to stay with the Twins, and Mauer repeated  what he said when he signed the deal 11 months ago.

``i believe I can win a World Series in Minnesota,'' Mauer said. ``Ultimately, that is what I want to do  To know I'm going to be there for the next eight years and play in front of my family and friends, you can't beat that..''

Mauer on other subjects:

On Joe Nathan's encouraging recovery from Tommy John surgery: ``I'm trying to slow him down as much as I can. Joe  has that personality where he wants to go out there and get after it which is great. You also have to realize we start the season Apr. 1 not Feb. 15. I'm excited for Joe.''

On Justin Morneau's recovery from a concussion: ``He's doing good. I talked to him a couple days ago and he was worried about what song we'll play in the clubhouse after a big win. So that right there tells me he's feeling better.

``That;'s another big guy. Those are two All-Stars we didn't have last year. If we get those guys back on the field those are better than any moves we can make.''

Mauer is scheduled to appear on ESPN2's First Take, which is airing as I update this....

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