Mauer eager to spend more time behind the dish

Mauer eager to spend more time behind the dish

DETROIT -- Joe Mauer was back behind the plate against the Tigers on Tuesday after serving as designated hitter in Monday's 6-4 win, and he said he hopes to see more playing time at catcher moving forward.

Mauer, who has an 11-game hit streak, has seen plenty of action away from catcher this season, as he's made 20 starts at designated hitter and 14 starts at first base, while making 35 starts behind the plate.

Mauer said that with Justin Morneau healthy and playing first base, he's hoping to be able to make more starts at catcher.

"I think that's the best way I can help the team," Mauer said. "But situations like that arise where I can keep my bat in the lineup, that is a good thing."

Mauer, who was selected to be an All-Star for the fifth time in his career, has played in 72 of his team's 80 games this season.

He said he's happy he's been able to stay in the lineup this season after playing in just 81 games last year due to various injuries.

"I've had some things come up here and there, but I've stayed on the field a lot," Mauer said. "That was one of my big goals coming into the season, and I'm definitely proud of that. It's been a different year. Coming into this season, I didn't anticipate playing as much at first base. ... But things like Morneau's situation come into play. And I've always told Gardy [manager Ron Gardenhire] whatever he thinks is best, I'll give it my best. So it's meant playing more first base. But I think now I'll get back to catching and DHing and helping the team out that way."