Mauer calls knee shots no big deal
By Jon Krawczynski, AP Baseball Writer
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Joe Mauer downplayed questions about his left knee on Wednesday morning, saying the lubricating shots are part of the recovery plan after offseason surgery.
To Mauer's dismay, Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire revealed on Tuesday that the star catcher is taking shots in his knee to help lubricate the joint. He had surgery after last season to alleviate swelling that bothered him for much of the year.
"It's more of a preventative thing, just to make sure I'm good to go for the season," Mauer said before the first full-squad workout. "So it's really not that big of a deal, and I kind of wish it wasn't out there. But here we are."
Mauer will take it easy for the next day or two to let the first shot take effect. He says he will need three or four in the series, which will be taken once a week. The plan is to limit his catching early in camp. He will not catch live batting practice, and Gardenhire said he likely won't be catching when the exhibition games begin.
"I want to make sure we clean that knee up before we get anything going," Gardenhire said on Tuesday.
Mauer said he wasn't sure when he will start catching in workouts or games. He realizes that, as an All-Star catcher who is beginning an eight-year, $184 million contract extension this season, there always will be concern about the health of his knees.
But Mauer did his best to quell those concerns Wednesday, saying the treatment is common among athletes. Twins starter Nick Blackburn had a similar series of shots a few years ago and told Mauer that he felt great all season.
"It's pretty common. A lot of athletes have them," Mauer said. "I guess being a catcher and all that stuff, it might sound a lot worse than what it is."