Mauer: Little chance for Opening Day

Posted on March 20th, 2009 – 11:28 AM
By La Velle

Twins GM Bill Smith announced a few minutes ago that every doctor who has been consulted on Joe Mauer’s lower back pain concurs that he has inflammation of the sacroiliac joint – the joint that connects the bottom of the spine to the top of the pelvis.

 “All the doctors have conferred and have spoken together and have given us a treatment program for Joe, which we are going to follow, which hopefully will reduce the inflammation and get him back on the field as soon as we can,” Smith said.

Update: Mauer has pretty much ruled himself out for Opening Day, which has  been speculated about but something no one with the club wanted to address. Mauer admitted that it’s, “frustrating,” that it has taken so long to heal and that he’s been unable to learn why he has soreness there in the first place. Will add quotes later.

When asked if it’s doubtful that he would be ready for Opening Day, he said: “Yeah, I just have to get healthy. I don’t think I’m ready to get out there and play any games. I know it’s getting closer. I really don’t know if I’m going to be there or not.”

Smith said the club had reached out to specialists in the Twin Cities a few weeks ago in addition to sending Mauer to see a highly-regarded specialist in Baltimore. A source with knowledge of Mauer’s case said the specialist is based at Johns Hopkins University.

 What’s still not known is when Mauer will get back on the field (one week? two? more?). While the Twins haven’t been told that Mauer’s condition is a long-term or chronic problem, no one knows how fast the medication will reduce the inflammation. With Opening Day just over two weeks away, the Twins probably will have to look at prospects Drew Butera or Jose Morales to support veteran Mike Redmond at the position until Mauer is ready to play.

“There’s not a timetable right now to say when he is going to be on the field,” Smith said. “This is the right treatment for now. We have to get the inflammation down  before we turn him loose.”

Smith said that a cortisone shot is not under consideration. He would not what, if any, medication Mauer was taking during the consultation process.

What’s known is that Mauer has been working out at the Lee County Sports Complex while doctors conferred. And he’s been able to increase the intensity in recent days.

When asked what Mauer’s mood is, Smith said: “He’s looking forward to get this chapter behind him.

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