Mauer said he’s feeling better, 10 days after he got hit in the facemask with a foul tip behind the plate. The six-time All-Star acknowledged he’s not concerned about catching again this year, just simply returning to the field sometime in September.
“Just trying to get back to playing,” Mauer said Thursday. “Yesterday, I got to walk on the field, which was just great. I’m just trying to progress each day. We’ll cross that when we have to.”
Mauer has been taking part in light exercises but is still bothered by light and sound. He won’t travel on the team’s road trip to Texas this weekend, so the earliest he’d be back in the lineup is likely Sept. 6, when the next homestand starts.
“My symptoms have been getting better, which is good,” Mauer said. “I might start an exercise and take a break for a little while and see where I’m at, so it’s been going good. Hopefully, another good day today.”
With the Twins out of playoff contention, there’s no real rush. But that doesn’t mean he’s satisfied with a slow pace to his rehabilitation.
“Shutting it down never entered my mind. I want to get out there, but I want to be smart about it, obviously. I definitely want to get out there and play,” Mauer said.
He said he’s been unable to establish a timetable for his return with the Twins and their medical staff.
“I’m probably driving them nuts trying to figure that out. I’m trying to get back as soon as I can. It’s not any fun watching,” he said.
Mauer calls this his first significant concussion since youth. He’s taken advice from Justin Morneau and other teammates who’ve dealt with the head injury, but each one heals differently.
“It’s not like a turned ankle where it’s a day or two, we’ll tape it up. You can’t tape up your head — wish you could — but just trying to do what they ask me to do,” he said.
Eventually, Mauer will probably become a part-time catcher who spends the rest of the time as a first baseman and a designated hitter. But the Twins haven’t expressed any desire to accelerate that process.
“We hope to see him catch,” general manager Terry Ryan said. “That’s his position. You can get hurt on a baseball field no matter where you go. Even DH.”
Manager Ron Gardenhire said its undetermined what position Mauer will take next month.
“We’ll just kind of play it by ear. I know Joe likes to catch. That’s what he’s been his whole life. We’ll just have to wait and get him back on the field,” Gardenhire said.