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.
The Twins announced this morning that catcher Joe Mauer will be a full-time catcher no more.
Mauer will move to first base next season, the team said.
There will be a conference call this afternoon with Mauer and Twins General Manager Terry Ryan to discuss the move.
Here is the Twins' news release:
The Minnesota Twins announced today that they will move All-Star catcher Joe Mauer from behind the plate to first base in 2014. After consultation with doctors from Mayo Clinic and team doctors, and given the inherent risks of future injury at the catcher position, the organization and Joe determined that it would be in the best interest of both him and the Twins for a position change.
The 2013 American League Silver Slugger batted .324 with 11 home runs and 47 RBI in 113 games last season, but suffered a concussion on a foul tip off his mask on August 19. He was placed on the 7-day concussion disabled list on August 20 and did not return to action the remainder of the season.
Mauer is now symptom free from the concussion and beginning his regular off-season workouts with no restrictions. He has played 56 career games at first base committing just four errors in 536 total chances for a .993 fielding percentage. Mauer has caught in 920 games and earned three Rawlings Gold Glove Awards at catcher (2008-10). He was named American League MVP while winning his third batting title in 2009 and has made six trips to the All-Star Game, four as the American League’s starting catcher.
The Twins said today catcher Joe Mauer would be sidelined the rest of the season because of concussion symptoms. General manager Terry Ryan said Mauer continues to have sensitivity to light and noise.
Phil Miller is covering the game tonight and will have a full update shortly.
Twins first baseman Justin Morneau is on waivers today, a league source confirmed.
The move by the Twins was not unexpected, and the waivers are revocable, meaning if he is claimed by another team, the Twins could pull him back.
Also, if he is claimed during the two-day period, the Twins could work out a trade with the claiming team.
Or they could simply let him go. The team that gets him would be responsible for the remaining six weeks of his $14 million salary, which is about $3.2 million (players are paid over a six-month period).
Pittsburgh and the the Yankees are among playoff hopefuls who could use more production at first base.
If Morneau clears waivers, he can be traded to any team. The waiver period ends at noon tomorrow. Has he done enough in two weeks to persuade teams to put in a claim?
Morneau is hitting .262 with 14 home runs and 67 RBI. After batting .175 with 4 homers and 5 RBI in July, Morneau is batting .269 with 6 home runs and 14 RBI in August.
Outfielder Josh Willingham, according to the source, has not been placed on waivers yet. The Rangers reportedly had interest in him in recent weeks but have since traded for Alex Rios.