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Monday (The return of Joe Mauer) Edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated August 11th at 11:52am 270756661

mauerhammockJoe Mauer is slated to come off the disabled list in time for tonight’s game against the Astros. It sounds as though either Trevor Plouffe or Oswaldo Arcia could go on the DL to make room, which is a nice relief because it means the Twins are going to fiddle with big Kennys Vargas (not that they would, anyway, since he’s been batting in the middle of their order and doing just fine).

We don’t know what this will mean for the lineup as a whole, but we do know this: the Twins have 46 games left in this season, and they are an important 46 games for Mauer. For all the jokes about Mauer’s durability and not playing in day games after night games, he appeared in at least 130 games in five of six seasons between 2005-2010. Since then, he’s done it only once — in a quite good 2012 season. Otherwise, it was 82 games in 2011, 113 last season and 76 so far this year.

Saying “Mauer needs to stay healthy” is a little too simple because nobody *tries* to get injured. But considering the Twins still owe Mauer $92 million from 2015-2018 — half of his eight-year contract — it is important to see a healthy, productive Mauer as the Twins play out the stretch run.

He’s still the team’s most accomplished hitter, by far. At 31, he might be at the start of a decline. How sharp that decline is, though, will of course determine just how much value the Twins will get for that large chunk of payroll — and be a significant factor if and when the Twins’ top prospects arrive en masse and potentially help engineer a real turnaround.

A productive Mauer always figured to be part of the plan for the team to contend in 2015/16 and beyond. Even if Mauer could return to 2013 levels for the rest of 2014 (.880 OPS), it would be a good sign. He was showing flashes of that before this last oblique injury; a consistent stretch of it would be a very welcome, and perhaps critically important, sight for the Twins as they prepare for the future.

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Toronto - LP: M. Stroman 2 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: W. Chen 5
Washington - WP: S. Strasburg 4 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: E. Santana 2
Miami - WP: S. Dyson 6 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: J. Familia 5
NY Yankees 0 Bottom 9th Inning
Tampa Bay 0
Cincinnati 0 Top 9th Inning
Chicago Cubs 0
Chicago WSox 3 Top 8th Inning
Kansas City 1
Cleveland 1 Bottom 8th Inning
Houston 2
Detroit 6 Bottom 8th Inning
Minnesota 4
Los Angeles 3 Top 6th Inning
Colorado 3
San Francisco 0 Bottom 3rd Inning
Arizona 0
Seattle 0 Bottom 2nd Inning
LA Angels 0
Philadelphia 0 Top 3rd Inning
San Diego 1
Philadelphia 13 3rd Qtr 4:32
Indianapolis 20
Tampa Bay 9/18/14 7:25 PM
Atlanta
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
(5) Auburn 9/18/14 6:30 PM
(20) Kansas State
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Montreal 16 FINAL
Edmonton 33
Toronto 33 FINAL
Calgary 40
Winnipeg 9 FINAL
Brt Columbia 26
Saskatchewan 3 FINAL
Hamilton 28

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