Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Hiding the hurts

Joe Mauer during pregame workouts Tuesday. He was
to have played first base Tuesday, but admitted feeling dizzy
during batting practice. He was scratched from the starting
lineup and ultimately put on the seven-day concussion
disabled list.
The Twins on Tuesday had a problem: Players hiding their hurts from the manager and trainers.

The most prominent case was Joe Mauer. The franchise player had an obviously painful day behind the plate on Monday — Ron Gardenhire said early Tuesday that Mauer would not catch any of the three games in Detroit — but when he was missing grounders at first base during batting practice, old buddy and veteran of concussions Justin Morneau urged him to get checked.

The result: Mauer was pulled from the lineup and put on the concussion list.

This is the second time this month that a Twins catcher has been sidelined by a brain injury. Ryan Doumit was out for eight days or so. Unlike Mauer, he tried to catch and finally reported his problems in the course of a game. That followed an admittedly difficult flight (flying and concussions are apparently a bad mix). By Mauer's account, he had no problems with the flight on Monday.

Let's consider what the Twins knew Tuesday. They knew Mauer had taken some foul tips to the face mask and helmet on Monday, including one off the bat of Ike Davis that caromed some distance and drew comment from the radio crew. They knew Mauer had a bruise on his forehead.  They knew enough that they were going to avoid having him catch for several days.

They also knew that he said he had no issues on the flight; if they read the Pioneer Press, they knew he had been quoted at length and coherently on the problems Kyle Gibson had in the Monday game.

Concussion symptoms don't necessarily emerge immediately after the blow. It's quite possible Mauer believed he was fine until he started making the quick movements involved in playing first base during Tuesday's batting practice. And he until he reported his ill effects, how were Gardenhire and the trainers to know?

Also adding to the medical mysteries: pitcher Sam Deduno and outfielder Oswaldo Arcia. Deduno, who has been ineffective his last three starts, now concedes that his shoulder is bothering him. He is apparently vague about it, and Gardenhire grumped to reporters that he's not convinced Deduno is being honest about his condition.

Deduno is to throw a bullpen session today; I suspect that he won't convince the bosses that all is well, and the Twins will need to find a starter for Friday as well as for Saturday (Friday is Deduno's start, Saturday is the vacated spot left by Kyle Gibson's demotion).

Arcia apparently jammed his wrist diving for a ball during the weekend but has been afraid to seek treatment for it. He was held out of Tuesday's game. With both Mauer and Arcia out of action, the Twins had just Doug Bernier available off the bench. Chris Colabello is on his way back to take Mauer's roster spot, so that should help the depth issues a little.

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