When the Minnesota Twins pulled the trigger on moving Joe Mauer from catcher to first base, they also did the same with their contingency plans. Mauer, who suffered a concussion that sent him to the disabled list last season, agreed with the team that will pay him $184 million over eight seasons and through 2018 to switch positions. They agreed with the goal in mind of Mauer staying healthy and in the lineup more often. The switch means when the Twins held their first official workouts for pitchers and catchers Monday at the Lee County Sports Complex that they did so without a catcher named Mauer for the first time since 2003. Mauer does not have to report until the rest of the position players do Friday, with the first full-squad workout slated to begin Saturday morning. "It'll be different," said Eric Fryer, one of four men who enter spring training trying to claim two roster spots at catcher. "It will be different for the fans. Joe was a once in a generation type of catcher. It's going to be different not seeing him behind the plate for sure." Twins players on the roster bubble Fryer, Chris Hermann, Josmil Pinto and offseason acquisition Kurt Suzuki enter this spring training as the four Twins catchers on the 40-man roster, with Suzuki already slated to be the No. 1 catcher. "It's going to be a competition for the other guy, and each guy brings a little something different to the table," said Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony. "Pinto is the best offensive guy of all the others. Fryer is probably the best defensive guy of the others. He has experience calling games. And Hermann brings some versatility. He can play the outfield, and he can hit some. We have a lot of variety between the three guys." Mauer, 30, has won three American League batting titles and the 2009 American League Most Valuable Player Award. He has a career .323 batting average over 10 years.
Twins ready to usher in new era behind the plate
Fox Sports North | Feb 17