Group Q&A with Terry Ryan after he announced Joe Mauer was shut down
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Twins general manager Terry Ryan addressed the media in an impromptu media session in the team clubhouse prior to Monday night's game.
The sole topic of discussion catcher Joe Mauer, and his progress in coming back from a concussion sustained on Aug. 19. Here is the full transcript of Ryan's press conference:
Opening Statement: "I thought I'd give you an update on Joe Mauer. He's here, and going through his ritual. Trying to get better and all the things that are coming with the process. He's making steady process. A lot of favorable things going on. But with all the calendar and the schedule and so forth about ready to run out, it's unrealistic for us to think we're going to get him on the field this year. So just to make sure everybody is aware, ultimately we're going to work toward the 2014 season. There are no setbacks. I don't want you to think there are any red flags here, there are not. But with all the advice we receive from our medical people, everybody thinks the best thing to do is just to make this thing go as smooth as possible, and get ready for next year. OK?"
On if Mauer will stay with the team and watch games from the dugout: "I think so. He'll do as much as he possibly can. I think if everything goes right, that those types of things are going to happen much more frequently. He's much better."
On wanting to see Mauer healthy enough to get at-bats before season's end: "That would have been the ideal (situation). But I'm also realistic enough to know when enough is enough. And we've got what, six or seven games left here? To think that it's going to happen....he hasn't done baseball activities. I think we're all aware of that. We'll work toward getting him ready. He's going to go through his winter ritual, which is normal for all the players. Ultimately, we anticipate him being 100 percent when we break for Spring Training down there in Fort Myers in February. That's the goal now."
On if Mauer put up a fight when notified of Ryan's decision to shut him down: "He understands. Putting up a fight...that's not the right description. Obviously he wants to be out on the diamond, and has wanted to be out on that diamond for a long time. Unfortunately, his symptoms won't allow it. And a concussion, as we all know, is touchy and sensitive. We've gone through this with Justin (Morneau) once before. I just don't want any setbacks, and neither does he, and neither does our medical staff."
On if Mauer's future is behind the plate full-time: "Yeah, I anticipate that, although I haven't sat down with Joe yet. But I would anticipate him wanting to catch. Now whether or not he has a difference of opinion, we'll sit down in the near future and talk that out. It'll be his call."
On if a mask change could in Mauer's future: "I'm not sure the mask dictates whether or not you get a concussion. There's all different kinds of masks that take the brunt of the foul tip. It doesn't matter what kind of mask any of these catchers have worn. Many catchers have gone down. People keep experimenting with masks, trying to create one what doesn't allow concussions to happen so frequently. Unfortunately, we are where we are here, and we're going to deal with it and get him healthy and ready to go."
On if the previous Morneau situation lent any help with Mauer: "Yeah, you can't speed up the process. I think that's apparent. We don't want any setbacks whatsoever, and the Morneau situation I think gave us a pretty good indicator. You've got to be careful, and only give so much, and take exactly what he can give you, and then move onto the next step. We've got trainers and medical people who have been around these things now for the last 4-5-6 years, and I think we're much more educated about this situation than we used to be."
On if MLB is looking out for catchers and concussions: "They are. They created the seven-day disabled list and the Doumit situation was ideal in that case. He was down for eight or nine days. We've tried -- Major League Baseball has tried -- and we'll continue to tweak some of these things. We're much more educated about concussions than we were five years ago. We all know that. And we'll continue that path. We just can't afford to let all these catchers go down."
On Mauer's offseason plan, and what it holds for him: "He'll have a plan, there's no question about it. Our medical people, our trainers, and our strength and conditioning people will have him on a program much like any of his other winters that he's been through. As soon as he can get on a baseball field, that's going to be a good thing. Hitting, throwing, catching and receiving and all that stuff to prepare. That won't be anything all that difficult."
On if it'll change how Mauer approaches his daily offseason schedule: "I don't think so. It doesn't take him much to get his bat ready. I think that's very apparent. Every time he comes off of one of these situations, he just picks up right where he left off. I don't see that it'll affect him much. He'll be ready to go."
On if he'll back off for a month: "I don't think so. I think there's some sort of a calendar that we're planning out here. He's going to continue doing what he's doing now. And then finally we can get him into baseball activities. And then we'll certainly be in the dead of winter here. He'll probably be in Fort Myers long before all of us. He'll have a plan, and so will all our trainers."
On what shutting down Mauer means, generally speaking: "There's finality here. For you guys who have been on the road with us, I get asked every day on whether or not he's going to play. I guess that'll put some finality to it, and you won't have to keep wondering whether or not he's going to play. Before I did make that decision, I certainly wanted to consult with our medical people and also Joe. I know it's the right time, because I've had enough conversations with these people to make an accurate decision."
On if Mauer's injury proves emblematic to the Twins' struggles on the small scale: "I'm not sure we want to put that in that tone. We've had some issues, not all of them have been this. We've had issues, there's no doubt about that. But to blame everything on Mauer's concussion...yeah it's a piece of it. But we've got other issues as well. We've got to do a better job, there's no question about it."