Joe Mauer on DL: Can the Minnesota Twins Continue To Keep Up in the AL Central?

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Joe Mauer on DL: Can the Minnesota Twins Continue To Keep Up in the AL Central?
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

The Minnesota Twins announced on Thursday that franchise player and All-Star catcher Joe Mauer has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with what was described as bilateral leg weakness.

According to Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, Mauer was suffering soreness throughout his body as a result of overcompensating, due to the knee surgery that Mauer underwent during the offseason.

Speaking with the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Gardenhire said the issue "is causing all kind of soreness in his hips, and he's compensating because of the [left knee] surgery he had this winter and he's starting to get sore in other places. So we are just going to shut him down.

He is definitely very, very sore over the last few days—his shoulder, his elbow—and we think it's his legs just not strong enough underneath him and he says he feels terrible.

His knee is actually feeling OK but he's compensating for the weakness in his upper leg, this is what I was told, that's causing a lot of other problems."

Backup catcher Drew Butera replaced Mauer in the lineup for Thursday night's game against the Tampa Bay Rays, and the Twins have also recalled C Steve Holm from Triple-A Rochester to fill Mauer's spot on the 25-man roster.

Neither catcher has anywhere near the offensive production of Mauer, so the obvious question at this point is: If Mauer is out long-term, what will the Twins do?

Mauer is scheduled to meet with a specialist in Baltimore on Friday, the same specialist who treated Mauer's back issues in 2009. However, no timetable has been given, though reporter Phil Mackey indicated on Twitter that Twins GM Bill Smith said, "We don't think this is anything that's going to be cause for long-term alarm."

That certainly remains to be seen at this point, until Mauer gets an official diagnosis.

So, the question remains: Can the Twins keep pace in the AL Central without Mauer? What are their options at this point?

We will examine some options that the Minnesota Twins could explore to keep themselves in the hunt in the AL Central should Mauer's absence be longer than expected.

For continuing coverage of Major League Baseball, follow Doug on Twitter @Sports_A_Holic.

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