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Twins' Mauer to Have MRI on Back

Minnesota Twins catcher and reigning AL batting champ, Joe Mauer, will have an MRI on his back to see what is causing him persistent pain.

During the offseason, Mauer had surgery to remove a kidney blockage. The pain in his back got so bad down the stretch last season that he could sometimes barely walk. The surgery should have cleared up Mauer's back pain then but the persisting soreness has sent him back to the doctor and put his availability for Opening Day in question.

While Mauer has been at spring training, he's only been able to do agility and conditioning drills but hasn't faced live pitching, been able to catch, or even run at full speed.

Both Mauer and the Twins remain at a loss as to what the problem could be.

"This is another effort to try to figure out where we are at and what we need to do," said Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire. "He's not on the field yet. He's not able to consistently go out and do anything. Concerned? Yeah."

If Mauer is unable to go, veteran Mike Redmond will assume the starting role at catcher. While the 38-year-old Redmond is a competent backup, he's nowhere near the hitter that Mauer is with a .317 lifetime average and has two batting titles already in his mantle.

By CJ Holley  |  March 10, 2009; 9:37 AM ET
Categories:  Twins  
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