March 18, 2009

No back surgery for Twins’ Mauer

Minnesota catcher Joe Mauer won't have surgery to ease pain in his lower back, the Twins said Wednesday.

Mauer has been bothered with back pain the entire spring training season. He's been limited to non-baseball workouts and can't run without pain, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported Wednesday.

He has been diagnosed as having an inflamed sacroiliac joint and he traveled to Baltimore last weekend for an examination by a specialist but those results aren't back yet, Twins General Manager Bill Smith said.

Smith told the Pioneer Press: What we want to do is treat this once. We don't want to rush this thing back and then have further issues down the road.

But they have ruled out surgery, at least for now, Smith said.

Mauer has been the Twins' regular catcher for the last four seasons. In five major-league seasons -- he played 35 games in 2004 before joining the Twins for good -- Mauer has hit .317 with 44 home runs and 301 runs batted in. He's been selected to two All-Star teams and won a Gold Glove last season.