Mauer doubtful for Opening Day
All-Star catcher changing medication to help ailing lower back
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Twins finally have a diagnosis on what has been causing the soreness in Joe Mauer's lower back. But with just a little over two weeks remaining until the start of the regular season, it appears there won't be enough time to treat the problem and have the catcher ready to play on Opening Day.
The Twins have been hesitant to say that Mauer won't be ready to start the season, but the catcher himself acknowledged Friday that it's unlikely he'll be available, given the time needed to prepare himself to get back on the field.When asked Friday if it was doubtful that he'd be ready for Opening Day on April 6, Mauer gave this response: "Yeah, I just have to get healthy," Mauer said. "I don't think I'm ready to go out there and play in any games. I know [Opening Day] is getting closer. I really don't know if I'll be there or not." What the Twins and Mauer do know now is that his lower back pain is a result of inflammation in his right sacroiliac joint -- where the base of the spine meets the top of the pelvis. It's what Minnesota's doctors originally diagnosed as the cause of Mauer's pain, but the club wanted to make sure that was the source of the problem. So Mauer spent the past couple weeks undergoing a series of extensive tests and examinations to determine what else might be causing his pain. The catcher flew to Baltimore last weekend to get a second opinion from a specialist there. Twins general manager Bill Smith said the team also consulted additional doctors in the Twin Cities, and everyone conferred that it was just inflammation and could be treated with a change in medication.
|"It's going to take some time. How much, I don't know."|
|-- Joe Mauer, on how long it will take him to get into playing shape once he returns|
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.