Joe Mauer Takes Light Batting Practice, Just First Step

The good news is that Joe Mauer took a little batting practice Tuesday. The bad news is that he doesn’t have any idea when he’ll actually play baseball again. First there was the knee injury that limited him in March and April and ultimately landed him on the Disabled List. And then there was the viral infection that knocked him flat for two weeks. Mauer (via 1500ESPN.com):

“That really did push me back quite a bit,” Mauer said. “When it was all said and done, I lost around 15 pounds. I lost a lot of strength, so that probably pushed me back a week or a couple weeks. I’m feeling a lot better now. I’m getting my strength back and my weight back, so hopefully I can get back on the field.”

He added, “You’ve got to get back into baseball shape. But yeah, I still got some work to do, and I wish I knew when I would be back, and I know everybody else wishes too, but you just go to keep going in the right direction.”

Writing less than a week ago, we pointed out that Twins catchers had combined for a .152 batting average this season … which seems almost impossible to maintain, but they’ve actually fallen to .139 since. And no, that batting average isn’t at all deceptive, as Minnesota’s backstops also rank last in the majors in runs and RBI, and haven’t yet hit a home run.

Mauer’s still out indefinitely, Justin Morneau’s still not hitting, and the last-place Twins are 12-22. When is Opening Day in 2012, exactly?

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