Joe Mauer tallies hit in first spring at-bat; will catch on Thursday
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Making his first start of spring training since undergoing offseason knee surgery, Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer ripped a single up the middle on the second pitch he saw from New York Mets right-hander Mike Pelfrey.
Mauer, penciled in the lineup as a designated hitter, Mauer went 1-for-3, following up the first-inning single by reaching on an error in the third inning and grounding out to first base in the fourth.
"It was good to get out there," Mauer said. "It felt real good. It just felt like I had some ankle weights on my legs. Just a little tired. Just normal, first time getting out there for spring training. But at the plate I felt good. The swing felt good.
"It's just getting your baseball legs underneath you," he added. "Everybody goes through it. Our guys who are out there playing right now went through it a couple weeks ago when games started. So to get three at-bats and run around a little bit today, it was definitely a good day."
Mauer, who has been catching bullpen sessions since Saturday, had left-knee surgery in early December, and he said last week that his recovery process has taken slightly longer than he had hoped, but that being ready for opening day is not a question.
Instead of taking a day off, or traveling to Lakeland for the 'A' squad game against the Tigers, Mauer is scheduled to catch in a minor-league game on Thursday. The plan is for Carl Pavano to start the game throwing to catcher Drew Butera, and after five innings Matt Capps will take over and throw to Mauer.
When asked about the possibility of starting the regular season on April 1 as a part-time catcher and designated hitter, Mauer said, "I don't want to be a DH. I'm a catcher, and that's what I'm trying to do."
Mauer generally arrives to the ballpark at 6:00 each morning to hit the weight room and do cardio exercises. On Wednesday afternoon he was also scheduled to do pool exercises.
"I think there's enough time," he said. "I'm trying to get ready for opening day."