Twins’ Mauer probably won’t be ready by Opening Day

The Twins are unsure when catcher Joe Mauer will be able to return to the field, but they know it probably won’t be by Opening Day.

Update: Mauer has pretty much ruled himself out for Opening Day, which has been speculated about but something no one with the club wanted to address. Mauer admitted that it’s, “frustrating,” that it has taken so long to heal and that he’s been unable to learn why he has soreness there in the first place. Will add quotes later.

When asked if it’s doubtful that he would be ready for Opening Day, he said: “Yeah, I just have to get healthy. I don’t think I’m ready to get out there and play any games. I know it’s getting closer. I really don’t know if I’m going to be there or not.”

Smith said the club had reached out to specialists in the Twin Cities a few weeks ago in addition to sending Mauer to see a highly-regarded specialist in Baltimore. A source with knowledge of Mauer’s case said the specialist is based at Johns Hopkins University.

What’s still not known is when Mauer will get back on the field (one week? two? more?). While the Twins haven’t been told that Mauer’s condition is a long-term or chronic problem, no one knows how fast the medication will reduce the inflammation. With Opening Day just over two weeks away, the Twins probably will have to look at prospects Drew Butera or Jose Morales to support veteran Mike Redmond at the position until Mauer is ready to play.

“There’s not a timetable right now to say when he is going to be on the field,” Smith said. “This is the right treatment for now. We have to get the inflammation down before we turn him loose.”

Mauer could be a late round steal in your fantasy draft if other owners are petrified of his injury situation. He would obviously be a risk, but a risk worth taking. He would actually pair up nicely with a guy like Bengie Molina, who you could snag in the final couple of rounds while everyone else is filling out their bench. You could get the most out of Molina (who typically starts well but fades after the All-Star Break) and then once Mauer is healthy (presuming he does eventually get healthy), dump Molina on a desperate owner in need of a catcher.

Just a thought.

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