MINNEAPOLIS - While homegrown phenom Joe Mauer is known mostly for his bat, the St. Paul native's catching skills have long been top notch.
But the time he has spent behind the plate for the Twins has been costly, both to Mauer physically and the well-being of his team.
That will change in 2014. The Twins announced Monday that Mauer will be transitioning to first base for 2014, a move that was made more prudent by the trade of Joe's longtime pal Justin Morneau.
After consulting with doctors from Mayo Clinic and team doctors, and given the inherent risks of future injury at the catcher position, the organization and Mauer determined that it would be in the best interest of both him and the Twins for a position change.
Mauer hit .324 with 11 home runs and 47 RBI in 113 games last season but did not play after August 20 after suffering a concussion on a foul tip off his mask.
Team physicians say Mauer is now symptom free from the concussion and beginning his regular off-season workouts with no restrictions. He has played 56 career games at first base committing just four errors in 536 total chances for a .993 fielding percentage.
While Mauer was honored with another Silver Slugger trophy in 2013 for his outstanding eye at the plate, he has also earned three Rawlings Gold Glove Awards at catcher. He was named American League MVP while winning his third batting title in 2009 and has made six trips to the All-Star Game, four as the American League's starting catcher.
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