Joe Mauer makes debut in right field

MINNEAPOLIS -- Joe Mauer has added another position to his resume -- right field.

Luke Hughes has an embarrassing story to tell his kids someday.

Mauer was in the lineup in right field for the Twins for Thursday's game against the New York Yankees, the first time he's played there in the majors. The first time, actually, since he was an amateur.

"Maybe a couple games in town ball," he said, "but that's about it." Mauer added: "It's been an interesting year."

Mauer found out about four hours before the game. Hughes, recalled from Triple-A Rochester to join the short-handed Twins, missed his flight to Minnesota.

"He smiled and asked me if I was serious," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I said, 'Absolutely I'm serious.' He said he'll do whatever we need to do. I said, 'Good, you're in right field.'"

Mauer has been a catcher his entire career, but he played some first base for the first time this summer while Justin Morneau was out. With the beating his body takes crouching behind the plate, a transition to another position will probably take place. So this, potentially, was another sneak preview.

"He's an athlete. He adjusted to first base. He'll adjust out there," Gardenhire said.

The Twins had little choice but to put Mauer there, with Michael Cuddyer bothered by a sore neck and Jason Kubel tending to a family matter.

Matt Tolbert, though available as a defensive replacement, has a sprained wrist. Denard Span was put back on the disabled list before the game, due to migraine symptoms. Morneau, Gardenhire said, was his only other option for right field.

Hughes, an infielder, arrived in Minneapolis around game time, and he was in the dugout by the second inning.

"I think he was at Gate A2, and he was supposed to be at Gate B2," the manager said.


"He really did. He was at the wrong gate," Gardenhire said.

Cuddyer had an epidural shot in his neck. Gardenhire said he'll go on the disabled list if he's still not ready to swing in a few days, but Cuddyer said he should be able to do that.

Span missed nearly two months with post-concussion symptoms. He was back for two weeks until the migraine symptoms -- in the form of dizziness and vertigo -- popped up. Athletic trainer Rick McWane said the team is trying to figure out how to get Span's condition under control.

"If it presents itself down the line, we'll know how to deal with it," McWane said.