Twins' Mauer will move to first base for 2014 season
The Minnesota Twins announced on Monday that former American League MVP Joe Mauer, who has played catcher for the team since 2004, will make the move to first base in 2014. The move was made due to long-term health concerns after Mauer suffered a concussion from taking a foul tip to the facemask this past season.
Mauer, 30, has missed considerable time with back, quad and knee problems over the years. These injuries are consistent with catchers, whose careers don't usually remain productive into their mid-30s.
"After consultation with doctors from Mayo Clinic and team doctors, and considering the future risks of injury at the catcher position, the organization and Joe determined that it would be in the best interest of both him and the Twins for a position change," said the Twins in a statement.
Mauer hit .324 with 11 home runs and 47 RBI in 113 games in 2013. There are still five years and $115 million left on Mauer's contract, which is why the team is taking steps to make sure he remains healthy and productive into his late 30s.
First base will not be a new experience for Mauer. He has played 54 games at the position in recent years, including eight in 2013 and 30 in 2012. There was some speculation the Twins would take advantage of his athleticism and strong arm by moving Mauer to third base.