The Minnesota Twins moved Joe Mauer out from behind the plate to first base in the hopes that it would keep him healthy and allow him to stay on the field and in the middle of their lineup more consistently.
So far in 2014 that plan has not worked out.
Mauer has been dealing with a back injury for the last few weeks. He was able to avoid the disabled list earlier this month, but his production is down and Jim Souhan of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes that the injury continues to linger as an issue:
“Mauer injured his back. Other than a concussion, there might be no more insidious injury for a professional athlete, especially one expected to play every day, than a bad back. Late Sunday afternoon, Mauer, in his usual understated manner, hinted that the back injury that cost him five games in early May was serious and lingering.”
Souhan goes on to say that Mauer described an injury that “grabs” with even the most minimal activity.
Mauer’s lack of power and his lack of durability are equally contentious topics among the fans in the great state of Minnesota. If Mauer hits the disabled list during a season in which he is slugging .352 through 37 games, well, that will make those kind people downright cranky with concerns that are not necessarily alleviated by Mauer’s on-base skills and command of the strike zone.