Mauer feels fine after catching five innings
Twins catcher goes 0-for-2 as AL falls to NL in All-Star Game
ANAHEIM -- Twins catcher and top All-Star vote-getter Joe Mauer went 0-for-2 and reached on an error Tuesday in the 81st Midsummer Classic before being pulled at the conclusion of the fifth inning for John Buck.
The National League defeated the American League, 3-1, the first defeat for the Junior Circuit since 1996.
Mauer lined to center in his first at-bat in the second inning off National League starter Ubaldo Jimenez, but right at Andre Ethier. To many, it seemed like a microcosm of Mauer's 2010 season, where he has seemingly hitting the ball well but is having a subpar year numbers-wise with a .293 average, four home runs and 35 RBIs.
"A little bit, yeah," he said. "It's funny, actually [Tigers slugger Miguel] Cabrera told me that, too. I put pretty good wood on it."
In his second at-bat, in the fifth inning with Evan Longoria at first base and none out, Mauer grounded to the pitcher's mound, where Hong-Chih Kuo fielded but threw wildly to first, well over Adrian Gonzalez's head. On the play, Longoria advanced to third and Mauer to second. After Robinson Cano drove in Longoria with a sacrifice fly, Mauer was erased trying to advance to third on a fielder's choice when Carl Crawford grounded to short and Hanley Ramirez threw to third baseman Scott Rolen.
Defensively, Mauer caught five scoreless innings, working with starter David Price, Andy Pettitte, Cliff Lee and Justin Verlander. Mauer was 0-for-1 throwing out runners in steal attempts, as David Wright swiped second in the fifth inning with Verlander on the mound.
"It's tough, because you have guys you're not familiar with and they have great movement in those shadows," said Mauer, referring to the sun setting with a 5 p.m. PT start time. "So when runners come on, it can be nerve-racking, but you do the best you can."
There had been some question of how long AL manager Joe Girardi would leave Mauer in the game, since the Twins' catcher has been battling a sore shoulder and nagging heel injuries. So even though the squad only carried two catchers, it was hardly surprising when Mauer was lifted after the fifth.
"I feel pretty good," he said after leaving the clubhouse at Angel Stadium. "The adrenaline kicks in and you feel like you can do anything. So I felt good today and I'll rest [Wednesday] and get back to work."
This was Mauer's fourth All-Star Game and third consecutive starting assignment. It certainly doesn't seem to be getting monotonous for the 27-year-old.
"It feels like you're starting to get loose and warmed up, but it's fun being at the All-Star Game," Mauer said. "It's a good time. Every time I come, it's a great experience. L.A. did a great job.
"It's different. You have to remember to get loose and get your body ready. There are a lot of things going on."
Since appearing in his first Midsummer Classic in 2006, he is 2-for-8 in All-Star Games, with one RBI and one run scored.
David Venn is the senior editor of LasMayores.com, MLB.com's Spanish website. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.