Catcher suffers knee injury

Updated: April 8, 2004, 12:12 AM ET
Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Twins rookie catcher Joe Mauer went on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday with a sprained left knee, and will be out about a month.

Joe Mauer

Mauer, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2001 amateur draft, tore medial meniscus cartilage and will have arthroscopic surgery.

"With a catcher, you're a little concerned about the wear and tear, so we're going to take a conservative approach," general manager Terry Ryan said. "This is sad, because he's a talented kid with his head screwed on straight."

Right-hander Seth Greisinger was called up from Triple-A Rochester, and right-hander Michael Nakamura was designated for assignment to clear room on the 40-man roster.

Matthew LeCroy started in place of Mauer on Wednesday night, strained an oblique muscle and joined him on the disabled list. Veteran Henry Blanco, a career .219 hitter, becomes the everyday catcher until the others heal, and the Twins will call someone up from the minors on Thursday.

"I'm more disappointed than anything," Mauer said. "You get up here, you're all excited. To have something set you back, it's pretty tough."

Mauer, a 20-year-old from St. Paul, was hurt sliding in an attempt to catch a foul ball behind the plate in the third inning Tuesday night against Cleveland.

Mauer left in the bottom of the third, after he stopped abruptly while being waved home on a single to right by Luis Rivas. A few pitches later, manager Ron Gardenhire and trainer Jim Kahmann came out to check on Mauer and took him out of the game.

Mauer singled in his only at-bat Tuesday, giving him three hits and two walks in his first six plate appearances in the majors.

Center fielder Torii Hunter and starting pitcher Johan Santana also left Tuesday's game with injuries.

Hunter will be out four to five days with a strained right hamstring, and Santana will make his next start after muscle spasms in his left forearm forced him out in the fifth inning. The spasms caused a cramp in Santana's thumb.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press