Mauer hopes Posey can stay at catcher
SAN FRANCISCO -- When the Twins and Giants took the field Friday night for the series opener at AT&T Park, Joe Mauer and Buster Posey were the starting first basemen.
Over the past few years, both Mauer and Posey established themselves among baseball's elite catchers. But starting in 2014, Mauer moved to first base full time, while Posey continues to receive occasional starts at the position.
While the two players are in different situations -- Mauer was essentially forced into the role after enduring concussion problems last year -- the Twins first baseman said he hopes Posey can stay behind the plate.
"There will be a day when he can't catch any more and there will be a day when he can't put on the uniform any more," Mauer said. "But he's a special player and he'll be able to make that transition at the end of his career if he wants. I'd like to see him catch as long as he can and have a few more years after that, too."
Even though this marks Mauer's first full season at first base, he noted that many have suggested the position switch dating back to when he was 20 years old after he underwent knee surgery, so he knows what Posey is going through.
Friday marked the 33rd game for Mauer at first base this year, and manager Ron Gardenhire admitted that Mauer still needs to work on his relay technique, among other things, but that he's athletic enough to handle the position.
"I miss calling the games and being behind there," Mauer said. "I don't miss the foul tips, but I definitely miss calling the game and working with the pitcher, for sure."
Gardenhire said the Twins have also benefited from having a veteran catcher like Kurt Suzuki to ease the transition and not throw too much at young Josmil Pinto. As for giving advice to Giants manager Bruce Bochy on how to handle his situation with Posey going forward, the Minnesota skipper said, "Nope. Tell Bochy he's got it.
"I think he can figure it out; he's pretty good at what he does," Gardenhire added. "Boch knows; he was a catcher. He knows what he's going through. And it all comes down to the mindset of Posey -- he's got to want to do it. He's got to say, 'This is OK. I can handle it.'"