Joe Mauer admitted Thursday that he’s still experiencing concussion symptoms during workouts, leaving him without a timetable for a return to the Twins lineup.
Mauer ramped up his workouts in recent days, taking batting practice and lifting weights, but that’s when the symptoms returned, he told the Star-Tribune’s LaVelle E. Neal III.
Given that the Twins have so little to gain by bringing Mauer back, the possibility exists that he won’t return this season, and even if he does make it back, he probably won’t do any catching. According to Neal, Mauer remains determined to play in 2013.
Mauer was hitting .324/.404/.476 when he suffered his concussion in a game against the Mets on Aug. 19.
When Billy Butler led off the bottom of the ninth with a single Thursday in a tie game against the Mariners, it gave him his third career five-hit game. It was also the end of his day; the Royals pulled him in favor of Pedro Ciriaco.
The switch didn’t work out — Ciriaco was left stranded at second — but it also didn’t cost the Royals, as they went on to win on a Mike Moustakas homer in the bottom of the 13th.
Had Butler remained in, he would have had a chance to go for the first six-hit day for a Royal since Joe Randa had one in 2004. They’re have been two six-hit games in the majors this season; Jean Segura went 6-for-7 for the Brewers on May 28 and Alex Rios went 6-for-6 for the White Sox on July 9. There hadn’t been a single six-hit game in any of the previous three seasons.
For Butler, it was the 29th time this season that he’s been removed early from a game. It happened less when Jarrod Dyson — manager Ned Yost’s favorite pinch-runner — was on the DL and when he was playing more regularly in the outfield, but now that rosters have expanded, Butler will probably get resume getting pulled for pinch-runners more frequently.
Felix Hernandez won’t pitch again until next Wednesday after leaving Monday’s game with what was called a lower back cramp, MLB.com reports.
“He feels good and wants to start on Sunday, but we’re going to be cautious with him,” manager Eric Wedge said. “We want him to get some flat ground work, get another bullpen in. He understands. It’s really not going to affect how many starts he gets.”
Hernandez’s slim Cy Young chances have already died after four straight losses, including one Aug. 28 against the Rangers that ranks as one of the two or three worst starts of his career (9 R, 8 ER in 3 IP). His ERA has jumped from a American League-leading 2.44 to 3.01.
The Mariners are going with a six-man rotation this month, so they won’t need a replacement for Hernandez on Sunday.