Joe Mauer taking reps at first base with Justin Morneau out


Justin Morneau’s third major injury in three years has the Twins talking about using Joe Mauer somewhere other than catcher for the first time and he took some reps at first base prior to tonight’s game.

Jordan Schelling of snapped the attached photo and Mauer got some personal instruction from manager Ron Gardenhire.

When he’ll see game action at first base and how often he’ll be used there remains to be seen, as both Mauer and the Twins continue to indicate that they have no plans to move him out from behind the plate permanently.

And rightfully so, as he deserves one more chance to get healthy and stay healthy before a career-altering move down the defensive spectrum. Mauer’s career .880 OPS leads all active catchers with at least 1,500 plate appearances, but would rank just 10th among active first basemen. As a way to get his bat into the lineup one or two extra times per week it’s certainly worth a try, though.

Rangers claim Tommy Joseph off waivers from Philly

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The Texas Rangers claimed first baseman Tommy Joseph off waivers from the Phillies. Philadelphia designated Joseph for assignment last week to make room for Jake Arrieta.

Joseph hit 22 home runs and knocked in 69 in 142 games last season, but he did not get on base — or hit for power, for that matter — at the clip a first baseman needs to in order to be an asset, posting a line of .240/.289/.432. He had a better 2016, so it’s not that he’s without promise, but the Phillies have obviously decided to head in a different direction.

Joseph doesn’t really have a spot in Texas either with Joey Gallo handling first base and Shin-Soo Choo at DH, but he has an option left and could serve as depth for the Rangers, plying his trade at Round Rock until he’s needed.