Twins catcher Joe Mauer took batting practice with the rest of his teammates Thursday at Target Field, according to the Associated Press, but is still not in the starting lineup due to a tissue bruise in his left heel.
Wilson Ramos, batting .438 since his May 2 call-up, will continue to fill in at catcher for the Twins until Mauer is fully comfortable with spending nine innings in a crouched position.
Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire isn’t revealing a whole lot of information, but it would seem sensible for Mauer to be eased back into the starting lineup at DH. Ramos is hitting well enough to deserve an extended look in the big leagues and not having to crouch should help the long-term health of Mauer’s left heel.
The Twins are 19-9 this season and have won four straight games in Mauer’s absence. Good teams will do that. The superstar catcher was batting .345/.406/.500 with 10 extra-base hits before the injury.
The Brewers and Dodgers haven’t had much action in Game 4 of the NLCS, bringing a 1-1 game through 10 innings and about four and a half hours. We finally got something to get the blood pumping, though, when Dodgers shortstop Manny Machado and Brewers first baseman Jesús Aguilar exchanged some words with each other, prompting both teams’ benches to spill onto the field.
With one out, Machado grounded a 3-1, 95 MPH fastball to shortstop Orlando Arcia, who made an easy throw to first base to complete the out. Machado, running the play out, dragged his left leg, slamming it into Aguilar’s leg as he crossed the bag, causing himself to stumble momentarily. Machado went back and jawed at Aguilar like it was his fault.
Machado has not had the best press in the NLCS. He failed to run out a grounder in Game 2, then made a couple of slides in Game 3 that attempted to interfere with Arcia at the second base bag. He was called for interference on the second one. Machado hasn’t earned the benefit of the doubt for his actions tonight.
It’s difficult to imagine Machado’s behavior during the NLCS will affect his windfall as a free agent this offseason, but he’s proving to be somewhat of a distraction for a team trying to get back to the World Series. And that’s not good.