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Updated: July 6th, 2011 5:14pm
Joe Mauer still 'beat up,' but 'I don't want to take any time off'

Joe Mauer still 'beat up,' but 'I don't want to take any time off'

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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MINNEAPOLIS -- He doesn't particularly offer much in-depth information when it comes to injuries, but Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer made it pretty clear Wednesday that he's really nowhere close to 100%.

"I'm pretty beat up," said Mauer, who did not start Wednesday due to general soreness from foul tips, blocking pitches and being hit in the shoulder by a fastball. "Obviously it was a quick turnaround (Tuesday to Wednesday). Just a normal (day off) I guess."

Perhaps the more concerning aspect at the moment is the fact that Mauer's legs are nowhere close to 100% either.

"Well, me not playing (Wednesday), that probably tells you how good they're feeling," he said.

"If I'm feeling good, I'm going to be in there. Even if I'm not feeling good. But today's one of those days where you need to take a day, and hopefully get back in there (Friday)."

Since coming off the disabled list on June 17, Mauer has started 15 of 18 games for the Twins, but he appeared in the other three as a pinch hitter. In 64 plate appearances since his return, however, Mauer is hitting just .220/.281/.271 with three extra-base hits.

"I think that's what's been the most frustrating thing," Mauer said. "It is my back leg ... I'm just trying to get out there and have good at-bats."

He added, "I knew it was going to be a grind. When you get hurt early in the season, it stays with you the whole year. That's kind of our sport in baseball, you play every day, so I knew it was going to be a grind coming back, and I'm just trying to stay out there on the field."

Problem is, the Twins trailed the Cleveland Indians by seven games heading into Wednesday, and if they intend to close the gap further, Mauer will almost certainly have to lead the charge offensively at some point.

After missing two months with what the team has described all along as bilateral leg weakness, there is undoubtedly more pressure to continue playing.

"I don't want to take any time off," Mauer said. "I've taken enough time off."

In an effort to keep Mauer's bat in the lineup while also allowing him to rest from the grind of catching, Gardenhire will insert the former MVP at first base on Thursday night in Chicago for the first time in his career.

As for the final three, months, Mauer said, "It's going to be a grind. ...

"I never like to talk about injuries and things like that, but I want to be in that lineup every day, and I understand what it's going to be like the rest of the year, but I guess that's where I'm at right now."

Phil Mackey is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd
In this story: Joe Mauer
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