How long can Mauer, Twins' best player, stay behind the plate?

  • Article by: La Velle E. Neal III , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 22, 2013 - 5:30 AM

How long can the Twins’ best player stay behind the plate, given the beating catchers regularly take?

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jastkeAug. 21, 1310:47 PM

Plainly and simply, concussions are brain injuries. Old-fashioned slang terms like "had his bell rung" minimize the potentially serious nature of concussions. The increased level of recognition that has come about over the course of the last few years is long overdue. My guess is that there will be big strides made in masks for catchers (and hockey goalies) during the next few years.

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jimiekAug. 21, 1311:52 PM

Are goalie masks better at absorbing shock?

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binky11010Aug. 22, 13 5:09 AM

When Mauer becomes the Twins first baseman -- due to a combination of lingering knee injuries and the concussion issue -- he essentially becomes Doug Mientkiewicz -- high average, low run production, slow runner. Mientkiewicz was a better fielder. So, The Twins will essentially be paying an average-fielding version of Doug Mientkiewicz $23 million per year for several years. Nice.

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stanbobAug. 22, 13 6:12 AM

The twins are about three years too late coming to this realization, but why should that be a shock to anyone?

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beckerdpjAug. 22, 13 6:40 AM

Concussions occur when the brain hits the skull. Additional padding seems unlikely to help as the energy from a 95 MPH fastball is still fully absorbed by the area of the body above the neck.

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fdrebinAug. 22, 13 7:22 AM

i'm sure there will soon be somw new rules in the same spirit as the NFL has adopted. Collisions at the plate will now be outlawed. If the runner and catcher touch each other in any manner, bot players are ejrcted and suspened for 80 games with a million dollar fine for each. In fact, and better yet, the caycher position, as well as the home plate umpire, will be eliminated. nd just to be safe, the pitcher must throw from behind a screen while wearing body armour a helmet, mask, and goalie pads. The fieders must make every possible attempt not to contact a batted ball until it stops moving so those injuries can be avoided. Yes, there is a lot we can do to "protect" these poor boys.

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henrikAug. 22, 13 7:31 AM

The comparison to Doug Mientkiewicz is way off.Doug played 12 seasons, with essentially 9 as a full time player. His lifetime average was .271, and hit a total of 66 home runs in his career. He was a decent fielder, but not anywhere close to a Gold glove. Whether Mauer should remain at catcher is debatable. Depending on whether the Twins re-sign Justin Morneau could change many things. Currently the Twins do not seem to have anyone to replace him. Mauer may have to become the full time 1st baseman. Mauer could also play 3rd or the outfield quite easily. With that said, in order to get the most out of Mauer at the plate I believe it will be necessary to get him essentially out of the catcher's position.

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neilgdAug. 22, 13 7:37 AM

I think Mauer has hurt himself and the team by insisting on remaining at catcher, for the most part. If he were a truly team player, he'd have said "Coach, play me wherever you need me. I want to do whatever is best for the team."

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zoilovAug. 22, 13 7:39 AM

Defensively, Mauer is an above average catcher, but so are others in the Twins system. First base is not a difficult position, so why not alternate Mauer and Morneau at DH and First base? These two are our best hitters by a long stretch and both need to be in the lineup. The most important player on the field is the guy throwing to the catcher...better work on that!

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sportcity444Aug. 22, 13 7:44 AM

"Joe Mauer becomes Doug Meinkewicz" - Really? Doug's average in 4 seasons with the Twins was .272, including just one season above .300. Joe Mauer is a possible Hall of Famer and has been one of MLB's elite players for nearly a decade. Look, Joe's going to be a great asset for this team no matter where he plays. I'd prefer it's at first base, sooner rather than later. By not re-signing Morneau it will be an easy fix for the Twins.

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