MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins first baseman Joe Mauer told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that his vision has been affected by the concussion that ended his 2013 season, especially during day games, as the sun makes it tough for him to pick up the ball. Mauer's offensive production has declined the past two seasons.
Mauer, who switched to first base in 2014 after sustaining the concussion from a foul tip while catching, is going to try something new this spring, as he'll wear sunglasses while batting for the first time.
"I don't want that to be kind of an excuse. If I'm out there, I'm out there. That's just the way I am," Mauer told the newspaper. "There are times I've gone up to the plate, and I just couldn't pick up the ball. That's part of the frustration, because I'm trying to do everything I can to get back. It just takes time."
The statistics seem to back up Mauer's assertions, as Mauer hit .248/.316/.354 with three homers and 25 RBIs in 61 day games last year, but batted .276/.352/.396 with seven homers and 41 RBIs in 97 night games. He also struck out in 17.4 percent of his plate appearances during the day, but had a strikeout rate of 16.5 percent during night games.
Mauer, a three-time batting champion and six-time All-Star, has historically fared just as well during the day, as he has a career .851 OPS during night games and a career .831 OPS during day games. But it should noted that he played half of his games in the Metrodome for the first seven years of his career.
Mauer, who turns 33 on April 19, also said that he sometimes felt the concussion-like symptoms during offseason workouts each of the last two years, but that he didn't have any this offseason.
"Some of the exercises we tried to do last year, I'd come up and be like, 'Whoa.' Now it's gradually getting better," he told the newspaper. "I'm excited for that. That's why I'm excited to get down there [to Fort Myers] and try some different things.
"It could be a lot of things. There are so many different symptoms. For me, it was lighting. I couldn't really pick up the ball. It was blurry at times. Where I am here versus last year at this time, I can tell my workouts are better."
The Twins are certainly hopeful the changes could help reignite the former American League MVP's career, as he's still owed $23 million a year through the 2018 season.