With forgettable 2011 behind him, Joe Mauer voted as A.L. All-Star
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Injuries and poor production -- by his standards -- led to the worst and most forgettable season of Joe Mauer's career in 2011.
On Sunday, the reclamation process took a huge step as Mauer was named the Minnesota Twins' lone representative on the American League All-Star team. This marks the fifth-career All-Star selection for Mauer, who will made the team as a reserve behind starting catcher Mike Napoli.
Mauer, 29, entered Sunday's games with a league-leading .416 on-base percentage and a .325 batting average that leads all American League catchers.
"Anytime you get asked to go to an All-Star Game it's a great honor, especially after the season we had last year -- the season I had last year. It's nice to go," Mauer said.
"It's a great event and it's definitely a huge honor."
Mauer missed two months last season with what the team described as bilateral leg weakness, and he missed the final two weeks of September with pneumonia. Between the injuries and illness Mauer hit just .287/.360/.368 with three home runs in 82 games -- a batting average nearly .40 points lower than his career mark.
Mauer spent the offseason tinkering with new ways to stay healthy, and the Twins spent much of the winter trying to rebuild Mauer's image. At the start of the 2011 season Mauer was quite possibly the most beloved athlete in Minnesota, but by the end of the year he was booed regularly and criticized heavily by fans on social media and by local media members.
This year Mauer has played in 69 of the Twins' 77 games, and his 293 plate appearances rank tops among American League catchers -- albeit Mauer has 14 games at first base and 18 as designated hitter.