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Updated: July 2nd, 2012 2:35pm
Joe Mauer said he voted for A.J. Pierzynski on his All-Star ballot

Joe Mauer said he voted for A.J. Pierzynski on his All-Star ballot

by Judd Zulgad
1500ESPN.com
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Joe Mauer was one of three catchers selected to the American League roster for the All-Star Game on July 10 in Kansas City, but the Minnesota Twins' lone representative for the game said he voted for a catcher who did not make the roster.

In an appearance on "Reusse and Mackey" on Monday on 1500 ESPN, Mauer said he felt former Twin A.J. Pierzynski was deserving of a spot on the team.

"I was kind of surprised with that," Mauer said when asked about Pierzynski not making it. "He's having a great year. We have our voting for players and he was one of the catchers that I picked. But every year it happens.

"There's a couple of guys that are definitely deserving and don't end up making it. A.J. is one of the guys. I think (Twins left fielder Josh) Willingham is one of the guys, too. He's having a great season, and I was a little disappointed when he didn't get the call."

Pierzynski is hitting. 285 this season for the Chicago White Sox with 14 home runs and 45 RBI. Mauer is batting .324 with four homers and 36 RBI and the third All-Star catcher, Matt Wieters of the Baltimore Orioles, is hitting .249 with 11 homers and 38 RBI.

According to a column in the Chicago Tribune on Monday, Wieters is the only AL catcher with more innings behind the plate than Pierzynski, who had caught 262 more innings than Mauer when the team was named.

Mauer has caught 35 games this season, while serving as the designated hitter in 19 games and playing first base 14 times.

While Pierzynski gets plenty of boos from Twins fans when he plays at Target Field and is known for annoying opponents, Mauer said the two get along.

"I was in big-league camp a few years with A.J.," Mauer said. "I know everybody here in the Twin Cities knows A.J. and how he can be. But he's been nothing but great to me. As a young player he helped me out a lot, just fundamentals and how to go about calling a game and things like that.

"Obviously, we've both been playing for a while. He's a guy that goes out there every day and plays the game hard. He can definitely get under your skin a little bit, but you've just kind of got to look the other way I guess."

The Twins will enter Monday night's game at Detroit in last place in the AL Central with a 33-45 record, but Mauer's season has been very different than a year ago. Last season, he played in only 82 games as he battled a variety of injuries.

In June this year, he hit .397 and had a .548 slugging percentage and .438 on-base percentage.

"I'm on the field. That's the biggest thing," Mauer said when asked to compare where he is at now versus last year at this time. "I missed a lot of time last year and it was a frustrating year. Obviously, our record has been frustrating for me this season, too. I'm in a much better place this year than I was last year, so just trying to stay on the field and keep it going."

As for the amount he has caught this season, Mauer said he has had "a couple of nicks and bruises," but added, "I've stayed on the field quite a bit. I really didn't know what to really expect as far as how much I'd be catching or how much I'd be playing first or DHing, things like that. But with the thigh injury and thumb injury, other than that I've been pretty much in every game. So I've been definitely pleased with that."

Judd Zulgad is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays and "Saturday Morning SportsTalk" from 10 a.m. to noon on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Judd | @1500ESPNJudd | Mackey & Judd
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