Mauer back on point against swipe attempts

Mauer back on point against swipe attempts

MINNEAPOLIS -- After throwing out a career-worst 14 percent of attempted basestealers last season, Joe Mauer has bounced back this year to throw out 43 percent.

Entering Monday, the mark ranks sixth in the Majors among catchers with at least 50 games behind the plate, ranking only behind the Reds' Ryan Hanigan (52 percent), the Indians' Yan Gomes (50 percent), the Dodgers' A.J. Ellis (48 percent), the Pirates' Russell Martin (45 percent) and the Cardinals' Yadier Molina (44 percent).

It's also tied for the second-best mark of Mauer's career, behind his league-leading 53 percent in 2007. The league average for throwing out basestealers is 25 percent this year.

"It starts with the pitcher giving him a chance," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Our pitchers are doing a better job getting him the ball and giving him a chance. So it starts with that, but his legs are also really underneath him right now. He's healthy. And his arm feels good. He's always been able to throw and has been accurate."

Gardenhire added that bench coach Terry Steinbach, who played 14 years in the Majors as a catcher, has also helped out with the catchers this year.

"He works mechanics with all our catchers," Gardenhire said. "He notices if they stand straight up or use their legs better. But Joe is a big, tall guy, so he's unique in that situation. He's going to stand up and throw. But he still has to use his legs and he's actually driving toward second a little better right now. And that's from Steiny, and that's why we brought him over here."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.