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Who will be the 5th starter?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 05:09 PM
The venerable Strib posted a Q&A with Terry Ryan. His response to a question on pitching is below. I read it as: - He acknowledges Gi...
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Cole Hamels

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 05:07 PM
Ignoring the no trade clause, if you were the Twins' GM would you trade for Cole Hamels?  If so, what would you give up.  ...
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Article: Can Aaron Hicks Be Fixed?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 05:09 PM
One of the more critical openings the Minnesota Twins will have this year is in center field. If all goes well, that job will be Aaron Hi...
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Who's the back-up catcher on this squad?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 04:57 PM
Kurt Suzuki is the Twins everyday catcher, but even as the everyday catcher, someone else is going to need to kneel behind the plate a co...
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Article: Minnesota Twins Sign Reliever Tim Stauffer

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 04:57 PM
Those Twins fans hoping that the last spot in the Twins bullpen this year might go to a failed ex-starter may have gotten their wish toda...
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Mauer showing progress but not ready for play

Attached Image: Joe Mauer.jpg The effects of taking several foul tips off his face mask are still lingering for Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said before Tuesday’s game against the Royals.

“He came in today and says he’s feeling pretty decent,” Gardenhire said but later added that Mauer will not be ready to return the lineup any time soon.
[PRBREAK][/PRBREAK]
“He’s not ready anyway right now. We just have to wait and see; I don’t have a timetable. They got to tell me when to play him. I will discuss it with him once we get the go-go from the doctors. There’s no sense in talking about it until he gets back.”

Gardenhire’s recollection of the events leading up to Mauer’s DL visit is something that is becoming more and more commonplace among catchers.

“He came to my office earlier in the day and we talked about not catching, I was going to play him at first base and he said that would be a good idea. He took one off his helmet and mask -- a couple of them pretty hard,” Gardenhire recanted. “He said his forehead kind of hurts. That was the first time I heard about that. It was good when we were playing first base but once he got out there in batting practice it wasn’t good at all. He was taking ground balls at first and Joe normally doesn’t miss too many ground balls and he was missing just about everything. You could see he was a little loopy.”

What happened to Mauer was innocuous but because of the increasing amount of concussion awareness and preventative measures set up by the league, the frequency of these instances will likely grow, Gardenhire believes.

In 2011 MLB instituted a seven-day disabled list specifically to handle these types of injuries. According to medical research cited by the league, the mild variety of concussion injuries typically clears within five-to-seven days and gives the player the opportunity to be evaluated by the team’s medical staff.

“I don’t think we even knew they had it,” said Gardenhire. “You didn’t know you had a concussion. It wasn’t something that was talked about. It was just ‘man, I don’t feel good today’ but you just played. And it was because there was nobody ever diagnosing it as a concussion. It just wasn’t there. You know, you get knocked out in a game you get back up and finish the game. Nowadays that just doesn’t happen.”

Of course, the player in the most direct line of fire is the team’s catcher. As HardballTalk.com pointed out last week, in the past month five catchers have been place on the seven-day DL.

“This is a good thing,” Gardenhire acknowledges of the added attention to concussions. “But you are going to see a lot of this from catchers. They get wacked pretty good. That foul ball off the mask, and I know they are trying all kinds of things, there’s no way to stop. I don’t know what kind of mask they can make that is going to stop that neck from getting whipped back like that after you get a 90-plus mile per hour ball tipped right into the mask like that.”

It is hard to foresee MLB making any changes to the way the game operates that would remove the catcher from harm’s way of the foul tip (robot umpires and catchers?). Equipment will be examined by the sport to see if there are any styles that provided added safety. However the current available stock – heavy or titanium or goalie-style – offer little difference in the level of protection, says Gardenhire, especially when trying to stop the whiplash effect of the neck snapping back upon contact.

“They all got different masks. You got heavy masks, the really light mask, titanium, you know all that stuff. No matter how light his mask was, you still saw him got hit that time and everything shook. It’s gonna happen. There’s no getting away from it."

"It’s just something we are going to have to figure out and deal with it now and go from there. You are going to see that quite a bit, catcher’s getting dinged up.”


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