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Mauer: 'This is the best I've felt in a long time'

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire says, "You're not going to find too many guys out there that want to get back on the baseball field more" than Joe Mauer. That's because Mauer is "embarrassed" about how last season played out, but he's excited for Spring Training and says this is the best he's felt in a long time.
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Twins manager Ron Gardenhire says, "You're not going to find too many guys out there that want to get back on the baseball field more" than Joe Mauer. That's because Mauer is "embarrassed" about how last season played out, but he's excited for Spring Training and says this is the best he's felt in a long time.

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Joe Mauer was used as a pinch-hitter Friday night, but his bruised quad kept him from starting. "I told you I wasn't going to chase people around," Ron Gardenhire told reporters before the game. "I'm waiting for them to tell me, and Joe to say he's ready to go."

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Ron Gardenhire says he'll do everything he can to keep Joe Mauer on the field as much as possible this season. How much catcher will Mauer play? That's for Gardenhire to decide. He says he'll give Mauer plenty of days off, "but for the most part", he'll be the judge of when Mauer needs rest.

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Twins manager Ron Gardenhire says Matt Capps is dealing with soreness in his right shoulder, but hopes he is ready to pitch Tuesday in Pittsburgh. The Twins closer gave up a two-run homer during Friday night's loss to the Brewers. Meanwhile, Joe Mauer is back in as catcher after sitting out Saturday's game with a sore hamstring.

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Joe Mauer looks like he's in playing shape already, according to Joe Christensen of the Star Tribune. Mauer told Christensen that he feels 100 times better than he did last year at this time. He also says he's at his "playing weight right now", and he's actually "trying to gain a little more before spring training."

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Last year at this time Joe Mauer wasn't doing a whole lot. This year the catcher says, "Every day I'm just, 'What do you want me to do today?' " He's worked out in all 12 spring practices since pitchers and catchers reported to spring training, and he will likely be in the Twins' lineup in the spring training opener on Saturday.

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