Gardenhire replied that he had thought about that being a possibility but confirmed on Sunday that he hasn't talked to Mauer about playing third base.
Mauer, who has made 30 starts at first base this season but has no professional experience at the hot corner, said the possibility of playing third was news to him.
"That's the first I've heard of it today," Mauer said. "I haven't even wrapped my head around it, so if that is the case, hopefully I have some time to prepare for it. But I think, and I've said this all along, I think we're a better team when I'm behind the plate. I think I've shown I've been able to do that this year, and also go over to first. So, we'll start thinking about that. I'm just trying to finish this year strong."
Mauer, 29, has a chance to set a career high in games played if he plays in every game in Minnesota's three-game series in Toronto. He started behind the plate against the Tigers on Sunday to mark his 144th game this season. His career high is 146 games in 2008.
But Mauer has spent just a little more than half of the time behind the plate, as he's made 74 starts at catcher and a combined 69 starts at first base and designated hitter. So Mauer said he wants to make it a goal to catch even more next season.
"I definitely don't rule that out," Mauer said. "I think this year, going over to first was more out of necessity than how it's going to be from here on out. I'm 29 years old, and I still have a lot more games behind the plate. So we'll see what they want to do, but I believe I can go out there and be an everyday catcher."