Saturday, May 1, 2010

Mauer Out, Twins fly out Wilson Ramos

The Twins have been battling injuries all season long. First they lost all-star closer Joe Nathan. Then setup man Jose Mijares went down, followed by opening day third baseman Nick Punto, and another setup man, Pat Neshek has been unavailable for the past couple weeks. On top of that tonight's starter, Jeff Manship is only with the team because regular pitcher, Nick Blackburn is on leave to attend to family matters.

Now it appears that they might have an issue with MVP catcher Joe Mauer. According to Joe Christensen of the Star Tribune, Mauer will miss tonight's game because of a heel injury suffered while running through first base in last nights 9-3 win over the Indians.  The injury certainly doesn't sound severe, but apparently it's got the team concerned.

As a precaution they have brought top prospect Wilson Ramos up from AAA to Cleveland. While Ramos has yet to be officially added to the roster, the Twins could make room for him by optioning tonight's starter, Jeff Manship, back to AAA after his start tonight.

For now, Drew Butera will make the start in Mauer's place and the Twins will then have four days to evaluate Joe and make a decision on whether they need to send him to the disabled list and keep Ramos long-term.

Ramos had a very good spring training, but was beaten out by Butera because the Twins wanted to have Ramos play every day and probably at least partially because they wanted to push back his arbitration clock. But the Twins may have been on to something too, because for as much as he succeeded in spring training, he has struggled mightily in AAA. With three home runs the power is encouraging, but with 15 strikeouts and just three walks in 67 plate appearances, his discipline has been questionable.

In all likelihood, Ramos isn't quite ready for this level, and without a proven veteran behind the plate, the Twins would be hard-pressed should Mauer miss any extended amount of time.

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