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, GM answer questions over long absence

Posted by: Phil Miller under Twins game coverage Updated: June 16, 2011 - 4:21 PM

Joe Mauer and Twins General Manager Bill Smith addressed the media today, with Mauer set to return to the lineup on Friday for the first time since April 12.

"This has been a very, very tough couple of months for Joe and this organization," Smith said. "He was put on the DL with bilateral leg weakness, which has gotten a lot of comment and questions.

"In its simplest form, bilateral leg weakness means he had weakness in both legs. The majority of that was due to the knee surgery he had in December, and if you take the extremes much further, to bilateral leg weakness, there’s a lot of very challenging results that can happen.

"We’ve never believed that this was anything more than a leg weakness, mostly caused from that knee surgery. I think when Joe started to go through that, it starts to affect throwing mechanics, swing mechanics, it starts to affect a lot of things."

Asked point blank to address rumors that he was suffering from something such as Lyme disease, Mauer said, "I don’t have Lyme disease. That’s the thing. I think everybody’s kind of formed their own opinion on that -- why I’ve missed time is because of my knee and weakness in the legs, and compensating for my knee. Is my knee good to go now? Yeah. I still have to work at it.

"I have no disease or anything like that, so I think that’s probably a good thing to clear that up a little bit."

Mauer and Smith stressed that they wanted to talk today so Mauer's return wouldn't become a distraction for the team, which has won 11 of its past 13 games.

Asked if he's thought about how he'll be perceived by Twins fans upon his return, Mauer said, "I think most of that negativity’s probably come out of frustration, and let me tell you right now, nobody’s been more frustrated than me over the last month -- or last months, I should say.

"I go out there and play hard every day. Obviously, the support of the fans means a lot to me, and I hope once I get back on the field, and we start playing, things will get back to the way they used to be."

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