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.

Joe Mauer is sore because of viral infection

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: April 15, 2011 - 5:07 PM

What an interesting 24 hours.

First we see Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, GM Bill Smith and trainer Rick McWane holding a lengthy meeting before Thursday's game. Then all we're told was that Joe Mauer is sore. After the game, Mauer is diagnosed with bilateral leg weakness - which can be a sign of neurological or spinal issues or all kinds of things.

We were wondering what to make of it all - then Mauer got sick during the game and had to go to the hospital for tests.

During those tests, Mauer was diagnosed with a viral infection.

Does he have weak legs? Yes. But the Twins are confident that the viral infection has made whatever soreness Mauer has from playing and made  it much, much worse.

Smith said on KSTP radio this morning that  he was confident that Mauer is not a long-term issue. He still has to go on the 15-day disabled list.

Gardenhire sounded relieved that Mauer's issue isn't something more serious.

``Basically, that really kind of helps us through this whole process of the leg stuff and all that,'' Gardenhire said. ``It tells us that there's probably a reason why he's been so sore, and that's his system is fighting a viral
infection. It kind of helps us in knowing a little bit better in where we stand and what's really going on.''

The only one who doesn't feel better right now is Mauer, who is back at the team hotel recuperating. He has a scheduled appointment on Monday in Baltimore with the specialist who treated his inflamed sacroiliac joint in 2009. It's an annual checkup whenever the Twins are in town. He might be too sick to go,however.

Meanwhile, Steve Holm, Mauer's replacement,is with the team and wearing No. 27. Actually, he will wear 27 after today -  everyone is wearing No. 42  in honor of Jackie Robinson Day across baseball.

Note: For those of you who read my Sunday baseball insider, you will remember that on April 3 I predicted that Justin Morneau would hit his first homer of the season tonight. Let's see what happens.

Twins (4-8)

1. Denard Span, CF
2. Matt Tolbert, SS
3. Jason Kubel, RF
4. Justin Morneau, 1B
5. Delmon Young, LF
6. Jim Thome, DH
7. Michael Cuddyer, 2B
8. Danny Valencia, 3B
9. Drew Butera, C

Pitching: Nick Blackburn, RHP

Rays (4-8)

1. Sam Fuld, LF
2. Johnny Damon, DH
3. Matt Joyce, RF
4. Felipe Lopez,3B
5. B.J.Upton, CF
6. Sean Rodriguez, 2B
7. Dan Johnson, 1B
8. Kelly Shoppach, C
9. Reid Brignac, SS

Pitching: RHP Wade Davis, RHP

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