By Joe Christensen
BRADENTON, FLA. — The Twins are close to having a final diagnosis on Joe Mauer’s lower-back injury, and General Manager Bill Smith hinted today that it will be similar to the one they had last week, with no “red flags.”
The Twins diagnosed Mauer with inflammation of his right sacroiliac joint, which connects the spine to the pelvis, and recommended an increase in medication.
The team hasn’t had an update since Saturday, when Mauer saw a specialist in Baltimore for a second opinion. Mauer, who underwent surgery to remove a kidney obstruction Dec. 22, has been doing conditioning exercises but has not been on the field for two weeks.
“What I’ve been told is it’s not a surgical issue,” Smith said before today’s game against Pittsburgh. ”It’s something we can treat, and hopefully, what we want to do is treat it once. We don’t want to rush this thing back and have further issues down the road.”
Smith said he might have a final update later today, and another person familiar with the medical discussions, said an update will be announced by Thursday.
Asked why the process is taking so long, Smith said, “We sent Joe up for a second opinion, and we didn’t want a cursory, ‘Oh yeah, you’re right, that’s what it is.’
“We asked the doctor to evaluate it from scratch. We asked for a complete evaluation from the doctor in Baltimore, and that takes time. He saw him on a Saturday, he wanted to see some additional records, and then he’s got to communicate with other doctors, with our doctors, and it’s a little bit of a slow process.”
Smith added: “There aren’t any red flags. We just asked him to give us a complete evaluation and opinion of what it is. … It’s just taken some time.
“They go in, review the symptoms, the treatments, everything he’s had. … We’ll get it as fast as we can get it. I’m just waiting for them to tell us.
“At the end, I think what we’re moving towards – the little I know, and we’re waiting for his final opinion – is his diagnosis will be the same as the other specialists that we’ve used, and then we can move forward.”
Update (corrected): Craig Breslow pitched a scoreless inning against Boston’s Class AA affiliate at the Twins’ minor-league complex in Fort Myers today. He allowed one hit and notched two strikeouts.
Kevin Slowey started against Class AAA Pawtucket allowed one run on three hits over three innings. He walked one and struck out four.
Jose Morales caught Slowey in that game and went 1-for-3 with a double.