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Updated: April 28th, 2011 6:33pm
Frustrated Mauer unsure of return date; 'I'm trying to get there'

Frustrated Mauer unsure of return date; 'I'm trying to get there'

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer spoke to reporters between doubleheader games at Target Field on Thursday, reiterating many of the same points made by head athletic trainer Rick McWane earlier in the day.

Mauer was eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list Thursday, but he will remain sidelined indefinitely.

Here's what the former MVP had to say:

What's been the biggest challenge for you with the illness and injury stuff?

"I think it's been a weird offseason spring training. I had a pretty accelerated spring training. I thought I got myself to a point where once we got to the season, my legs would continue to get stronger. ... It just kind of went the other way. It's frustrating, but we are where we're at. I'm just trying to get healthy again and get on the field."

"I think it's just kind of been a bad storm the last couple weeks, with the viral thing and feeling sick kind of knocked me back a little bit. I feel confident once I get healthy and get where I need to get to it won't be a problem."

Any timetable for a return?

"I'm trying to get that out of everybody, but I've just got to get healthy. I'm not where I need to be yet to be on the field and do baseball things. I'm trying to get there as best I can."

Are you looking to catch? Or to just be healthy enough to DH?

"To catch. That's what I want to do. It's April. We have a lot of games ahead of us. If I come back and I'm not ready to go, I think it's not fair to my teammates, not fair to the team, to the organization. I have to get ready to go and ready to play."

Have you thought about other positions?

"No, I don't think so. We're at the point where I'm trying to get strong enough to catch and that's what we're doing. That's what I'm working toward."

Why not?

"I just think I can help the team a lot better behind the plate. That's what I signed here to do -- to catch."

"It's been a long couple weeks. ... The infection down there in Tampa kind of set me back. ... I feel like I'm starting to make improvements. ..."

Could you tell at the beginning of the season that something just wasn't right?

"Yeah. You play through a lot of things as a player. I think I really started to go downhill after when we got back from New York. I was out there fighting it. My body said it couldn't go anymore. It's tough to admit that, especially with the things that guys play through, but it just gets to a point where your body says it can't go any more."

Is it one of those things that if you come back too soon the set-back will be even longer?

"That's the thing. You have to get to certain point, get your body and legs underneath you to play this game, whether you're catching or playing left field. And that's what I'm trying to do."

What's the rehab process been like?

"A lot of it's been just trying to get healthy to do everyday things. With that sickness, I really couldn't do anything for a week. I'm trying to get some of that weight back. I think I lost around 15 pounds. The first couple days was just general moving around, getting the body moving again. Today was more increasing the intensity of the workouts. It feels like I'm finally turning a corner in that sense and can start to work on the things I need to work on."

Are you looking to hit any benchmarks in your recovery?

"Well, we really haven't gotten that far. I haven't really gotten into any baseball stuff. We've got a program and we're trying to follow the program. But as far as when we're going to be doing baseball stuff, that's still yet to be determined."

Is it nice to have the support of your teammates?

"My teammates want to see me out there, the organization wants to see me out there, and I want to see myself out there. So it's frustrating when you're not able to play, and I try to encourage the guys while they're here, while they're on the field like they would when I'm out there playing. It's frustrating I think for everybody, but especially for me."

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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