As the Minnesota Twins season continues to spiral downward, even more injuries must be dealt with. This time, it was to a “potential” All-Star.
By now, most everyone knows that first baseman Joe Mauer has been placed on the disabled list with a right oblique strain that will keep him out for at least 15 days, if not more. With the injury, it also means that Mauer is officially out of the running to be a part of the All-Star Game taking place at Target Field in Minneapolis.
Given the history of injuries that Mauer has suffered in the Major Leagues, it almost comes as no surprise that he’s missing game time once again.
In 2004, Mauer underwent surgery to repair a torn medical meniscus in his left knee that he sustained while sliding for a foul pop-up on the artificial turf in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. With the surgery, Mauer’s rookie season was cut short to only 35 games, where he hit .308/.369/.570 including eight doubles, one triple, six home runs and 17 RBIs.
In 2007, Mauer dealt with a stress reaction in his left fibula, which was nothing too serious and allowed him to return after a few days. Late December 2008 found Mauer undergoing surgery again for a minor kidney obstruction that luckily did not cut into any regular season playing time.
On March 11, 2009, Mauer was diagnosed with inflammation in the sacroiliac joint. In other words, lower back pain. Because of the injury, Mauer had to miss team workouts during spring training as well as the first part of the regular season, before finally returning on May 1.
Other injuries plagued the St. Paul native throughout 2010, including a bruised left heel, right shoulder tendinitis, tissue inflammation in his left knee, and arthroscopic surgery on his left knee after the 2010 season.
Due to complications from the surgery, Mauer missed much of spring training once again and was put on the disabled list in mid-April. It was believed that Mauer was suffering from what doctors called “bilateral leg weakness” due to a light spring training workout, and did not return until mid-June. Because of other small ailments throughout the season, Mauer experienced his second shortest season with the Twins, playing in only 82 games and ending with a .287/.360/.368 average, including 15 doubles, three home runs, and 30 RBIs.
In late August of 2013, Mauer was put on the disabled list once again for concussion-like symptoms, and did not return for the rest of the season. In order to protect him from further concussions, Mauer was moved to first base permanently.
This season, Mauer has already missed some games due to back spasms and will miss even more due to the strain in his right oblique. With so many injuries, it has left many fans questioning Mauer’s lagging performance and whether or not he is still worth his eight-year $184 million contract that will take him through the 2018 season. At 31-years-old, Mauer is by no means getting any younger. And age only makes players more prone to injuries. Notably having one of his worst seasons since joining the Major Leagues, will Mauer ever be able to overcome the multiple injuries and return to his normal, power-hitting, successful self? I for one sure hope so.
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