The Twins' catcher has been accompanied at the Midsummer Classic by teammates Justin Morneau and Joe Nathan in each of the past two seasons. But with Morneau pulling out of his fourth consecutive All-Star Game on Saturday due to lingering symptoms from a concussion he suffered last week, and Nathan out for the entire 2010 season due to Tommy John surgery, Mauer will be the Twins' lone representative at Angel Stadium this week.
"That was pretty cool," Mauer said. "They had a 3D TV set up, and it was pretty amazing. Nice way to start the day."Twins manager Ron Gardenhire credited Mauer for still being able to put up solid offensive numbers despite the many little injuries that have nagged him this season. "He's hitting [just] under .300, which would be great for anybody else," Gardenhire said. "He's just set the standard so high. "That being said, sure injuries have played a little bit a part of it. He's been fighting a lot of little nagging things this year and playing through it. That's what All-Star players do. Some years, you have it where your body just takes a bit more of a beating than others, but you get through them and that's what he's done to his credit." Mauer needed some coaxing to call his season, so far, "frustrating." But he did use that word. "It hasn't been that bad, because I'm obviously here," he said, motioning around a hotel ballroom filled with the AL All-Stars. "I plan to do a lot better [in the second half]. It's been a season of ups and down, and I have enough time to turn it around." Mauer was 1-for-3 with a run scored in last year's All-Star Game in St. Louis. The year before that, Mauer went 1-for-1 with a walk in his start at the Midsummer Classic at Yankee Stadium. In '06, his first All-Star Game and the only time he played as a reserve, he went 0-for-2.
The 81st Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and Le Reseau des Sports, and around the world by Major League Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 8 p.m. ET. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage. MLB Network, MLB.com and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Game coverage.