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Mauer says knee injection no big deal

Mauer says knee injection no big deal

Mauer says knee injection no big deal
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins catcher Joe Mauer downplayed the lubricating shots that he's receiving in his surgically repaired left knee, saying Wednesday morning that they are "not really that big of a deal" and are in no way a sign of a setback following offseason surgery.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire revealed Tuesday that Mauer had received a shot of medication to help lubricate his left knee joint, and general manager Bill Smith confirmed the news that Mauer had gotten a shot after Tuesday's workout.

"I was surprised that it was out there," Mauer said as he spoke with reporters before Wednesday's first full-squad workout. "Usually a lot of these things happen and you never know about it. But nothing set me back or anything like that. It was part of the plan, and [I'm] just working my way back."

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Tuesday's shot of synthetic mediation was the first of a series of three or four shots that he will receive in his left knee, Mauer said. The shots will occur once a week, and Mauer stressed that they were a planned part of his treatment following arthroscopic surgery that he had on his knee in mid-December to alleviate some irritation in the joint.

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"It's not that I need it," Mauer said of the shots. "It's more of a preventative thing, just to make sure I'm good to go for the season. So like I said, it's really not that big of a deal, and I kind of wish it wasn't out there, but here we are."

Mauer took things easy during Wednesday's workout, since he had just received the shot. He has been taking part in the Twins' daily workouts since pitchers and catchers reported last Thursday, although Mauer has yet to catch a bullpen session this spring.

The decision to have the shots, Mauer said, was made shortly after he had the surgery this offseason. The knee is the same one that Mauer had surgery on in 2004, his rookie season, when he had a torn medial meniscus repaired.

"It's pretty common," Mauer said of the shots. "A lot of athletes have them. I guess being a catcher and all that stuff, it might sound a lot worse than what it is."

The shots Mauer is receiving are similar to a synthetic lubricant that pitcher Nick Blackburn has used in both of his knees. Blackburn said that twice he's had similar shots put into his right knee and once into his left knee. He said the shots typically last anywhere from six months to six years, the latter which was the span of time he went between shots in his right knee.

"The times that I had it, later that day, once the effect from the shot went away, it felt greased up in there and a lot better," Blackburn said of his knees. "Hopefully [Mauer] has the same reaction that I had in the past."

Mauer said Blackburn told him that once he got those shots, his knee felt great the whole season, and the catcher is hoping for a similar result.

As for when he'll start catching in workouts or in games, Mauer said he wasn't sure, although Gardenhire has indicated it's unlikely that that the catcher will be behind the plate right away when the Twins kick off Grapefruit League games on Sunday night.

Gardenhire reiterated Wednesday that the Twins plan to keep Mauer's workload light throughout the early part of the spring to help ensure that he's healthy for the regular season.

"He had surgery, and we're not going to rush anything," Gardenhire said. "I don't want him to have any setbacks. We don't need that. We don't have to push it. We're going to stay away from the squatting. He's going to tell us where he's at. He's going to do all of his hitting and his exercises and all of those things."

Mauer was asked if he's concerned that he has not been catching since the Twins have a total of 27 pitchers in camp, many whom are new to the organization. But he believes he'll have plenty of time to get to know the pitchers once he's ready to start catching again.

"It's still early -- it's the first day," Mauer said. "We've got what, six weeks? No, I'm not concerned."

Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Kelly's Corner and follow her on Twitter at kellythesier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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