Mauer back at catcher (Game 87 vs. White Sox)

CHICAGO — Joe Mauer is back at catcher tonight after playing first base yesterday.

And Twins manager Ron Gardenhire wanted to clarify comments made by Joe Mauer after last night’s game, when he reiterated he’s still a catcher despite impressing in his first career start at first base.

Gardenhire simply wanted to make it clear that Mauer will remain the club’s catcher moving forward, but that the four-time All-Star has no problems with playing first base to get his bat in the lineup with Justin Morneau out until mid-August.

“He’s a catcher and he’ll do whatever we ask,” Gardenhire said. “But he wants it known he’s a catcher and he feels really good behind the plate and loves running the game. But we can use him at first base and we’ll be able to do that in the second half to keep his bat in the lineup and also give him those days from getting beat up from behind the plate.”

Gardenhire then dropped a hint that Mauer could even play the outfield, but later said it was just a statement to show that Mauer is willing to do whatever is asked of him.

“If [Jim] Thome can play, you can put Mauer at first, and it’s not even an issue, which is really cool,” Gardenhire said. “And if Morny comes back, like he’s going to do in August, we might have him play in the outfield somewhere too. Oh, write that one. Look at the Tweets right now. Look at the bloggers firing it through now. Who knows? He’ll do whatever we want him to do just to keep his bat in the lineup.”

Gardenhire then was asked if his comments were tongue in cheek, and confirmed it was more of a hypothetical situation than anything else.

“I love it. I absolutely love it. I’m trying to explain to you that he’ll play wherever and if I ask Joe to play right field or left field, he’ll say, “OK, if that’s what you need.’” Gardenhire said. “That’s the point I’m trying to get across. If I ask him to do that, he’ll give it a go.”

Twins (39-47)

1. Ben Revere, CF
2. Alexi Casilla, 2B
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Michael Cuddyer, RF
5. Danny Valencia, DH
6. Rene Tosoni, LF
7. Luke Hughes, 1B
8. Tsuysho Nishioka, SS
9. Matt Tolbert, 3B

RHP Nick Blackburn (6-6, 4.02 ERA, 4.56 FIP, 1.86 K/BB)

White Sox (43-46)

1. Juan Pierre, LF
2. Alexei Ramirez, SS
3. Paul Konerko, 1B
4. Adam Dunn, DH
5. Carlos Quentin, RF
6. Alex Rios, CF
7. A.J. Pierzynski, C
8. Gordon Beckham, 2B
9. Brent Morel, 3B

RHP Gavin Floyd (6-8, 4.17 ERA, 3.86 FIP, 2.75 K/BB)

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