Perennial MVP candidate Joe Mauer only played nine games before going on the disabled list with leg weakness and a bad viral infection. Before he was shelved, however, he got off a pretty bad start for his standards. Thursday, Twins trainer Rick McWane gave an update on Mauer's progress -- we'll get to that in a second -- and also acknowledged that Mauer probably wasn't 100 percent physically ready to play when the regular season began. (Star-Tribune )
“He wasn’t strong enough to handle everyday catching,” McWane said. “At the end of spring training, he said that’s the best he had felt and he’s doing fine. He didn't have any issues with his knee at end of spring training. And still his knee feels good.Mauer was attempting to come back from surgery on his left knee in December and had played in eight spring training games, but that apparently wasn't enough.
“It wasn’t a matter of his knee not being ready, he just didn't -- I don’t think -- have the repetitions, catching or in anything else. Once the season started, he started to wear down.
“Then he got sick on top of that. We've had a couple guys get sick. So it was just a perfect storm of several things that happened at same time.”
Moving forward is what matters at this point, though, and Mauer is progressing -- even if slowly. He should soon begin baseball activities before going on a minor-league rehab assignment.
The good news is that the leg weakness was merely soreness due to trying to rush back from the surgery. Several other possible causes of bilateral leg weakness -- such as bulging discs in the back -- that may have ended Mauer's season have been ruled out.
It's good that Mauer is getting stronger, but due to what happened at the start of the season, there's no way the Twins rush him back. Expect him to miss another few more weeks, if not more.
Mauer, 28, hit .327 with nine home runs, 75 RBI, 88 runs, 43 doubles and an .871 OPS last season in leading the Twins to another playoff appearance. He also won his third straight Gold Glove.
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