TORONTO -- Joe Mauer set a career high by playing in his 147th game of the year in the season finale against the Blue Jays on Wednesday.
The decision to play was Mauer's, as he's played in all three games of the series as designated hitter, and was happy to set the mark after playing in just 82 games last year because of various injuries and ailments. His previous career best in games played was 146, set in 2008.
"I've been coming to the park every day ready to play, so I don't see why one day is going to make a difference," Mauer said. "I wanted to come in and get in the lineup and finish strong. The whole year I've been coming to the park wanting to be in the lineup, so I don't see why I'd take the last one off."
Mauer has also returned to form this year, as he enters the last game of the year hitting .320/.415/.448, with 10 homers and 85 RBIs. His .320 batting average is third in the American League, while his .415 on-base percentage leads the AL.
So he's proved that he's still the All-Star caliber player he was before his '11 campaign was marred by injuries, and has missed just 15 games all year.
"I think everybody is pleased about that mark," Twins general manager Terry Ryan said. "I think that was one of the big question marks coming into the season, about how much we would be able to get Justin [Morneau] and him out there. And both of them have been out there most of the season."
Mauer, 29, saw his time behind the plate drop, however, as he started 74 games at catcher while starting 42 games at designated hitter and 30 at first base. But Mauer said he wants to catch more next year, as his time at first base had a lot to do with Morneau starting the year off as DH.
"We've just tried to keep him on the field all year long by playing him different places, and I think it's worked out well for him," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He's been healthy pretty much, other than a few nicks here and there. It's been a good year for him, and he's been great offensively. So it's important to us and to him, because now he's healthy heading into next year and past all that stuff."