Joe Mauer forced to play right field for short-handed Twins

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Michael Cuddyer, Denard Span, and Matt Tolbert are injured, Jason Kubel is away from the team for a family emergency, and call-up Luke Hughes missed his flight to Target Field, so manager Ron Gardenhire had to improvise tonight’s Twins lineup and the result is Joe Mauer making his professional debut in right field.

Prior to this season Mauer had never played anywhere but catcher and designated hitter, but he’s been seeing significant action at first base since returning from the disabled list and will now give the outfield a try. And unless Hughes shows up during the game, Minnesota will face the Yankees with zero healthy players on the bench.

While far from a speedster, Mauer has the athleticism to potentially be an asset defensively in right field and his arm will certainly come in handy if any runners try to take an extra base. For now the Twins have said that Mauer remains in their plans primarily as a catcher, but third base and right field are potentially intriguing destinations if they decide to move the former MVP out from behind the plate more often in 2012.

Report: Braves nearing deal with Peter Moylan

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The Braves are close to an agreement with free agent reliever Peter Moylan, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman writes. Terms of the deal are not yet known, though anything greater than a one-year contract would be surprising.

This figures to be Moylan’s third run with the Braves. The 39-year-old right-hander completed a two-year gig with the Royals in 2017, during which he put up a 3.49 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 7.0 SO/9 in a league-leading 79 appearances and 59 1/3 innings. While he hasn’t looked dominant at any point in his career, he showed promise after recovering from back surgery and two Tommy John surgeries and could provide some veteran support to a bullpen that ranked 27th among its major league peers last year.

The Braves have been linked to Moylan since November, but they’re not the only ones still in play for his services. Bowman adds that the Royals have continued to show interest in the veteran righty, though they don’t appear close to arranging a deal.