Joe Mauer's bad luck continues. Mauer is out for the rest of the season with pneumonia, bringing an early end to his worst season with the Twins.
The team's on its way to its worst record in more than a decade, so Mauer's sitting out the last 23 games is merciful, in a way.
But the pneumonia adds to a string of bizarre, troubling injuries for Mauer, the local boy made instant legend who just topped the Business Journal's list of highest-paid athletes in the Twin Cities -- and also came in at No. 1 on another list of the most overpaid.
Yesterday, the Twins announced that Mauer had checked in to the Mayo Clinic to get treatment, with the Twins trainer explaining that Mauer had come down with a respiratory infection on September 2. Medication couldn't rid the catcher of his cough, and now doctors have told Mauer he needs medication and at least two weeks of rest.
According to manager Ron Gardenhire, Mauer's not taking the news well.
"He's not very happy," Gardenhire told MLB.com. "He's pretty upset about it."
The Twins lost again last night to drop their record to 59-90, 28 games behind division-leading Detroit Tigers. Minnesota's finishing the year in a tailspin, having lost nine out of their last 10 games. Not a lot of that can be laid at the feet of Mauer -- he catches, and can't help out pitching, where the Twins are second-to-last in the league in opponents' earned run average.
But with $23 million coming his way this year, and only three (!) home runs all season, it's understandable that Mauer would rank first on the Business Journal's list of "most overpaid" Twin Cities athletes. (That list came out before news of Mauer's pneumonia.)
In the past, Mauer has missed extensive time with rare ailments, including "bilateral leg weakness" last season, and he once suffered from severe back pain, only to find out it was an obstruction of his kidney that required surgery. All of that history, and his disappointing season, must be adding to Mauer's frustration at this news.
"He really, really is not happy about this situation," Gardenhire said. "He wants to be out there, he wants to be here with the guys."