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 the Twins' lone All-Star representative

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: July 1, 2012 - 1:17 PM

Catcher Joe Mauer, whose health was scrutinized last season like never before, is headed back to the All-Star Game.

The former Cretin-Derham Hall standout was named as a reserve to the American League team for the Midsummer's Classic on July 10 in Kansas City. Mauer is batting .325 heading into today's game against the Royals while leading the AL with a .416 on base  percentage. Mauer made the team as a manager's/MLB choice.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire called a team meeting at 11:40 this morning to inform Mauer and the club of his selection

"Any time you get asked to the All-Star Game its a great honor,'' he said about 45 minutes before today's game. "After the season we had last year and the season I had last year, it's nice to go. It just kind of hit me that I'll be heading there.

"We have a ballgame in a few minutes too, so there's a lot running through my head right now."

It's Mauer's fifth All-Star Game selection, and his first since 2010. He mentioned Josh Willingham, Glen Perkins, Jared Burton and Denard Span as deserving of the honor and was disappointed that none of them made the team.

"I was hoping to bring a couple with me," Mauer said. "We have a lot of guys in there with great years and definitely deserve it."

It's the second straight year the Twins have had just one representative at the All-Star Game.

No Twins player was selected for the annual final vote contest, which could have been a way for Willingham to have one more chance to make the team. But all the candidates for the AL final vote are pitchers.

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