Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.

Mauer isn't ready to play

Posted by: Phil Miller under Twins game coverage Updated: April 28, 2011 - 6:35 PM

Twins catcher Joe Mauer said tonight that he lost 15 pounds and couldn't do much for about a week because of his recent viral infection.

"It feels like I’m finally turning a corner," he said.

Still, Mauer has a ways to go before he'll be ready to come off the disabled list. On the DL since April 12 with bilateral leg weakness, he was eligible to return today but said he's not ready to resume baseball activities.

The Twins have no timetable for his return.

“He’s still in the strength phase of his program,” head trainer Rick McWane said. “He’s getting stronger, he’s feeling a lot better, he’s improved his flexibility, improved his strength in his legs, his upper body, his shoulder, his elbow, everything’s getting stronger.”

Mauer hasn't been throwing or hitting, so eventually he'll need to do that and then go on a minor-league rehab assignment, McWane said.

Mauer had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in mid-December and played in just eight spring training games, going 6-for-20 with four walks.

“He wasn’t strong enough to handle everyday catching,” McWane said. “At the end of spring training, he said that’s the best he had felt and he’s doing fine. He didn't have any issues with his knee at end of spring training. And still his knee feels good.

“It wasn’t a matter of his knee not being ready, he just didn't -- I don’t think -- have the repetitions, catching or in anything else. Once the season started, he started to wear down.

“Then he got sick on top of that. We've had a couple guys get sick. So it was just a perfect storm of several things that happened at same time.”

Mauer agreed that he had a "pretty accelerated spring training."

"I thought I got myself to a point where once we got to the season, my legs would continue to get stronger and get to where I needed to get to," he said. "And it just kind of went the other way."

Mauer has been through extensive tests, and the team has ruled out several potential causes of his bilateral leg weakness.

“The doctors are very confident that he is perfectly healthy other than the orthopedic soreness that he is currently experiencing,” McWane said. “There’s no connection between his virus and orthopedic injuries.”

Asked if he's given thought to a position change, Mauer said, "No, I don’t think so. ... I just think I can help the team a lot more behind the plate. That’s what I signed here to do is catch. I think we’re a better ballclub when I’m behind the plate."

Mauer is in the first year of an eight-year, $184 million contract extension.

"I just kind of had a bad storm the last couple weeks," he said. "I feel confident once I get healthy and get where I need to be that it won’t be a problem."

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