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.

Twins caravan: Joe Mauer looks like he's back to himself

Posted by: Phil Miller under Twins offense Updated: January 26, 2012 - 4:17 PM

I caught up with Joe Mauer on the Twins caravan today, following him to two stops, and came away thinking he's very close to his peak physical condition again.

Apologies for not getting into more detail here, as I need to get a couple things written before tonight's Diamond Awards Banquet, but here are a couple highlights:

Mauer wouldn't confirm reports that he's gained 30 pounds this winter, but he said, "I’m at my playing weight right now, and I’m actually trying to gain a little bit more before spring [training] hits because it comes off pretty quickly.”

Last January, Mauer was a month removed from arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.

The real measure of where Mauer is at is strength. As he stressed last year, there’s a difference between adding good weight and bad weight.

“I’m getting there,” Mauer said of his strength. “I’m still two months from Opening Day. [Compared to this time last year], I feel 100 times better. You know, night and day. And I’m excited about that.”

Check out the rest of the story in tonight's first editions.

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