Molitor, Ryan to discuss vision issues with Mauer
Manager, GM unaware of first baseman's problems
BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. -- Speaking at Grapefruit League media day on Friday, Twins general manager Terry Ryan and manager Paul Molitor said they were both unaware that Joe Mauer had been dealing with vision problems at the plate since suffering his concussion in 2013.
Mauer, who has seen his offensive production decline since the injury, told the St. Paul Pioneer Press last week that he's had times where he's had trouble picking up the ball at the plate since suffering the concussion, especially during day games. He also plans on wearing sunglasses at the plate to help remedy the problem.
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But Ryan said he'd never heard of that issue until last week and downplayed the report, while also acknowledging the seriousness of the injury.
"He has admitted it didn't come out the way he exactly wanted it to," Ryan said. "The question was about how he was feeling and any health concerns. And he said, 'I'm coming off a concussion and not sure if you're ever going to be the same. And that I'm going to wear sunglasses.' I don't think he meant to make any excuses. He just answered that he's not the same. And I don't deny that. I think any time a guy has a concussion, he's not going to be 100 percent after that. And I think that's what he was trying to say."
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Ryan, though, said he didn't want to speak for Mauer, who isn't required to report to Spring Training until Feb. 26 for the full-squad report date. He did say if it was a major problem, he would've heard about it.
"It's never trickled up to me," Ryan said. "I'm thinking he's fine. But I'll let him speak for himself, and you guys will see him soon."
Molitor said he hasn't had the chance to talk to Mauer since the report came out, but is looking forward to meeting with him to discuss how much of an issue it really has been the last two years.
"I wasn't aware that he was dealing with some of those things more than anybody had any idea about," Molitor said. "I've thought about it some. And I'm sure Joe and I will have a chance to talk. A guy who is prideful and who wants to play -- and I'm not sure a guy who can't pick up a baseball and a guy has a sprained ankle are the same -- but if you feel like you can help the team, you're going to keep running back out there.
"But I know he's improving and has worked hard to make some of those things go away."
Mauer, who turns 33 on April 19, was a six-time All-Star and three-time batting champion heading into the 2014 season with a career slash line of .323/.405/.468. But he's hit a combined .270/.348/.376 with 14 homers and 61 doubles over the last two seasons. Molitor is curious to see if Mauer bounces back this year with some of the concussion issues behind him.
"I'm sure he'll experiment and see what he's most comfortable with," Molitor said. "Not many night games here so he'll get some practice."