What can charitably be described as a disappointing season for Minnesota Twins' catcher Joe Mauer has, officially, been brought to an end.
Lavelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune is reporting that Mauer has contracted a mild case of pneumonia. Twins' trainer Rick McWane said that Mauer had gone to the Mayo Clinic yesterday, where he received the diagnosis and was told to take medications and rest for two weeks. When one takes into consideration that the Twins' season only has about a week and a half remaining, it's easy to surmise that St. Paul's favorite son has played his last game for Minnesota in 2011.
A litany of injuries and other maladies relegated Mauer to just 82 games and 296 at-bats this season. Despite a .285 batting average, Mauer clearly wasn't the same player, as only 18 of his 85 hits on the year went for extra bases, and he had just three home runs on the season. Due to injuries and other issues with the Twins, Mauer not only saw time behind the plate in 2011, but also started 18 games at first base and even logged a start in right field.
Mauer was the first overall selection by the Twins in the 2001 Major League Baseball draft. Since arriving in the big leagues late in 2004, Mauer has a .323 career batting average, has won four Silver Slugger awards (2006, 2008, 2009, and 2010), was named the American League's Gold Glove winner at catcher the past three seasons, and was the Most Valuable Player of the American League in 2009.