MINNEAPOLIS — Twins first baseman Joe Mauer was lifted from Friday’s game in the 5th inning with was was described as neck tightness.
By Saturday, the Twins have decided that he needs a disabled list stint with a “cervical strain and concussion-like symptoms.”
The pain is thought to have started when Mauer dived to try to catch a ball in foul territory on the latest road trip in Anaheim. Mauer missed the catch but the impact with the ground is apparently having a lasting effect.
The Twins have called up Jake Cave to take Mauer’s place on the active roster for now. Miguel Sano started a rehab assignment at Triple-A Rochester on Saturday, and based on his running drills at Target Field on Friday, he ought to be nearing a return to the big leagues.
It’s not yet clear if this injury is a return of the concussion issues that forced Mauer out from behind the plate beginning in the 2014 season. If it is, it’s unfortunate for Mauer and for the Twins. In the short term they’ll be able to slide in Logan Morrison as the everyday first baseman and use Robbie Grossman at DH. But Morrison is step down from Mauer as a fielder and it will be awfully tough to replace Mauer’s .283/.404/.355 production in the leadoff spot.