From LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune comes some unfortunate news.
Twins catcher Joe Mauer, who was held out of the Minnesota starting lineup on Wednesday and Thursday, has now been placed on the 15-day disabled list due to bilateral leg weakness.
The Twins aren’t giving out too much information at the moment, but the condition is often related to nerve or spinal cord issues and can be very serious. Mauer will visit a specialist in Baltimore Friday.
Drew Butera, who owns a brutal .193/.231/.287 career batting line in the major leagues, is likely to draw most of the starts behind the plate while Mauer is out. The Twins are very short on catching depth.
Steve Holm has been promoted from Triple-A Rochester to serve as Butera’s backup. A career minor leaguer, the 31-year-old Holm has only 107 major leauge plate appearances to his name.
Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.
The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.
That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.