Twins first baseman Joe Mauer felt good during early batting practice Thursday. But it was a different story when he went through fielding drills.
He began to feel the concussion symptoms that were part of the reason he landed on the disabled list two weeks ago. So he backed off those drills and hopes Friday will be a better day.
But he is already preparing himself for the possibility he will not be activated from the 10-day disabled list during this four-game series against the AL Central-leading Indians.
“I’m disappointed because I was making good progress,” he said, “but I don’t anticipate it being a long or lengthy deal. I was hoping it would be a little bit better today.”
Mauer planned to spend the night at Target Field and be around his teammates. But he remains cautious about doing anything to trigger symptoms. He preferred to speak to reporters Thursday without television cameras turned on, just to make sure the lights wouldn’t affect him.
It’s a setback for Mauer and the Twins, who need his .283 batting average and .404 on-base percentage back in their lineup like they need air to breathe.
Keep in mind that Mauer landed on the disabled list because of a cervical strain in addition to concussion symptoms. He passed concussion tests at the time, so he was not placed on the seven-day concussion DL, meaning he is not in the league’s protocol. But he has been seeing area specialists about the symptoms nonetheless.
Twins Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey said there are no plans for Mauer to undergo more testing.
“He certainly had symptoms of something like that,” Falvey said. “He felt good for a period, obviously played through it for some stretch. But ultimately we are just focused on getting him healthy and back.”
Mauer used the word “disappointed” several times while discussing his situation. And, as far as he is concerned, he had a concussion.
“I definitely had the symptoms,” he said. “If you have the symptoms, you probably had one. That’s the thing. I talked to you guys after that game [May 19 vs. Milwaukee]. Obviously, my neck is what it was. But on the drive home, the symptoms really started to pour on. That’s why you didn’t see me for a couple days.”
Buxton gamble didn’t work
Byron Buxton was all for it. The Twins were for it, too, if he was.
So the center fielder tried to play while the hairline fracture in his left toe healed. But the pain affected him at the plate and when he ran, to the point where Buxton was placed back on the 10-day DL Wednesday.
“I look at it as a three-week experiment that didn’t work out,” Buxton said. “I’ll sit for a couple days and whatever happens, happens.”
Manager Paul Molitor indicated Buxton will go through a five- to six-day period of “reassessment” before they determine his next step. With Buxton’s legs his most effective tool at this point, the Twins are sure to be more careful this time.
A magnetic resonance imaging exam of Buxton’s toe showed that it wasn’t better or worse, but there was some swelling around the area that is trying to heal.
Santana to see specialist
Righthander Ervin Santana will be examined in New York on Monday by specialist Dr. Charles Melone, who performed surgery on Santana’s middle finger in February. The All-Star’s rehabilitation stint ended after two starts because his fastball is 3-4 miles per hour slower than it usually is.
“For him, it has been relatively normal soreness and swelling, in his estimation,” Falvey said. “And our estimations, in general. These are things, the surgeon said, you should expect and work through over time. I don’t have anything that is overly concerning right now, based on the reports we’ve gotten. Just want to make sure that because he’s feeling soreness and swelling, that we are pacing this appropriately.”