Joe Mauer was finally beginning to look like his old self following last year’s season-ending concussion and a terrible start to this season, hitting .320 over his last 20 games, but last night he suffered a strained oblique muscle while hitting a double to extend his hitting streak to 12 games.
That’s almost never a quick-healing injury and Mauer revealed after the game that he’s actually been playing through discomfort for about a week, so the Twins have already placed him on the disabled list and called up first baseman/outfielder Chris Colabello from Triple-A to replace him on the roster.
Mauer’s move from catcher to first base had Twins fans hopeful that his already strong production would increase, but instead he’s hit a career-worst .271 with two homers and a career-worst .695 OPS in 76 games while striking out more than ever. His recent hot streak was reason for optimism, but now Mauer will be out for at least two weeks and probably closer to a month.
Yadier Molina has two World Series rings, multiple Gold Gloves, Platinum Gloves, All-Star appearances and a Silver Slugger award. He now has an all-time record too.
The record: the most games caught with one team. Last night he caught his 1756th career game with the Cardinals, with ties him with Gabby Hartnett of the Cubs, who last caught in 1941 and set the record in 1940, his last season with Chicago. Molina will break the record next time he dons the tools of ignorance, likely tonight against the Phillies.
Given how badly catchers get beaten up — and Molina has taken a beating at times in his career — and given how well mastery of the position leads to a catcher earning journeyman status, as it were, it’s quite a thing to catch that many games for one team.
Given that Molina is under contract with the Cardinals for two more seasons and has stated his desire to retire a Cardinal many times, he’s likely to put that record so far out of reach that it’ll likely take at least another 78 years to break it, if indeed it is ever broken.