With Joe Mauer coming off his worst professional season in an injury-plagued 2011 campaign, the Twins set up a blueprint to keep him on the field in '12.
The plan worked to perfection, as Mauer ended up setting a career high in games played with 147 while returning to the elite form that makes him one of the best catchers in the game.
Mauer ended up hitting .319 with 10 homers, 31 doubles and 85 RBIs while leading the American League with a .416 on-base percentage.
But Mauer only caught 74 games while serving as designated hitter in 42 games and playing first base in 30 games. So Mauer's goal this season is catch more games, and general manager Terry Ryan says it's not out of the realm of possibility for him to catch as many as 125 games this year.
"I think I'll probably do more catching," Mauer said at TwinsFest. "A lot of the reason I went over to first base, especially early in the season, is we really didn't know what [Justin] Morneau's situation was. That's the way I've been preparing for the season, to be the everyday catcher. I can go over to first if they need me to do that. I can DH if they need me to do that too. But the way I've been preparing is catching every day."
Mauer, who said he's currently injury free, has been able to have a normal offseason, as he's fully past the knee issues that plagued him in '11. The only big change for him this offseason was that he got married in December.
"It's been a nice, normal offseason," Mauer said. "The last couple years have been concentrated on specific work or a sickness or stuff like that. It's nice to get after it."
Injury free Mauer raring to get after it in 2013
MLB.com | Jan 27