Travel issue for Luke Hughes forces Joe Mauer to right field
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Just when it seemed as if the Minnesota Twins' season could get any more strange, Joe Mauer came to Target Field to see his name penciled in as the right fielder on Thursday.
"It's been an interesting year," said Mauer, who hasn't played right field since "maybe a couple games in town ball."
Due to Michael Cuddyer (neck), Denard Span (concussion symptoms) and Matt Tolbert (wrist) all being banged up, and with Jason Kubel out because of a family issue, the Twins recalled infielder Luke Hughes from Triple-A Rochester on Wednesday night.
But Hughes wound up at the wrong gate while attempting to catch a flight on Thursday and was unable to make the trek to Minneapolis in time for the Twins' game against the New York Yankees, leaving only nine healthy position players.
"I think he was at Gate A2 and he was supposed to be at Gate B2," manager Ron Gardenhire said of Hughes' travel issues.
Mauer, who has made 11 starts at first base this season as well, found out about the lineup conundrum four hours before the game.
"I guess it was either me or (Justin Morneau)," Mauer said.
"Joe was on the training table getting prepared, and Morneau was watching him," Gardenhire said. "I almost took a floss pack, and if it came up letters or bare, that's who was going to play, but I decided I was just going to tell Joe, 'You're playing right.' Why change two positions? Leave Morneau. He does pretty good at first, and Joe can go out there and run around."
Mauer was still looking for an outfielder's glove during batting practice, but he said he'd probably wind up using one of Jason Kubel's.
"It's just been an interesting year," Mauer said. "Hopefully we get through today and get some guys in here, and hopefully it's just a one-time deal."
CF Ben Revere
2B Trevor Plouffe
RF Joe Mauer
1B Justin Morneau
DH Jim Thome
3B Danny Valencia
LF Rene Tosoni
SS Tsuyoshi Nishioka
C Drew Butera