When the Minnesota Twins take the field this evening, they will feature a new face at first base. Not really a new face, but a very famous (and aesthetically pleasing) face, one unencumbered by protective bars and padding for the very first time.
Yes, the world’s greatest catcher and guy you drafted three rounds too early in your fantasy pool Joe Mauer makes his big league first base debut tonight versus the hated White Sox of Chicago.
The move is designed to free Mauer from the rigors of catching at the big league level which, in turn, gets the Twins a better return on their 18 bazillion-dollar investment in the face of their franchise. While Mauer often DHs, the injury woes of other face of the franchise and incumbent first baseman Justin Morneau free up a less defensively intense spot on the diamond for Mauer.
Will the move work for the Twins? OF COURSE IT WILL, they’re the Twins. Everything works in their favor as Ron Gardenhire is a mad genius when it comes to baseball alchemy. Everything this man touches turns to gold, because his teams Play The Game the Right Way.
But seriously, the Twins aren’t a very good defensive team and tonight send out a weakened infield defense with noted wormburner Carl Pavano on the hill. While waiting for a start behind a pitcher with stronger fly ball tendencies like Scott Baker would likely be Gardy’s preference, he can’t be too picky when it comes to giving certain players days off.
If Mauer — a world-class athlete and former MVP — manages to negotiate first base without too dying or losing a limb, it gives the Twinkies another option and way to get rest for the increasingly brittle Morneau. Key factors if the Twins intend to catch the Indians in the race to not lose the American League Central.