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Twins' touted rookie catcher lands on the DL

By Wire services
Published April 8, 2004

MINNEAPOLIS - Twins rookie catcher Joe Mauer went on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained left knee.

Mauer, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2001 amateur draft, tore medial meniscus cartilage and needs surgery.

"With a catcher, you're a little concerned about the wear and tear, so we're going to take a conservative approach," general manager Terry Ryan said. "This is sad, because he's a talented kid with his head screwed on straight."

Right-hander Seth Greisinger was called up from Triple-A Rochester, and right-hander Michael Nakamura was designated for assignment to clear room on the 40-man roster.

The Twins are left with two catchers: veteran Henry Blanco, a career .219 hitter, and Matthew LeCroy, the primary designated hitter.

Mauer, a 20-year-old from St. Paul, was hurt sliding in an attempt to catch a foul ball behind the plate in the third inning Tuesday at Cleveland.

Mauer left in the bottom of the inning, when he stopped abruptly while being waved home on a single to right by Luis Rivas. A few pitches later, manager Ron Gardenhire and trainer Jim Kahmann checked on Mauer and took him out.

Mauer singled in his only at-bat Tuesday, giving him three hits and two walks in his first six plate appearances in the majors.

RESTRAINING ORDER DISMISSED: A judge dismissed a restraining order filed against former star Andre Dawson by a business partner because of lack of evidence, Dawson's attorney said.

Kiamesha Harrell, who had a recording contract with Dawson's Acclaim Records Inc., told the court that Dawson had harassed her and that she feared for her safety. Dawson said Harrell was just trying to break the contract she had signed, Dawson's attorney Barry Wax said.

Dawson's company has sued Harrell, alleging breach of contract.

BRAVES: Julio Franco's latest milestone caught him by surprise. Atlanta's 45-year-old first baseman became the oldest non-pitcher to play in a major-league game since Carlton Fisk in 1993, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, when he went 0-for-4 in Tuesday's opener against the New York Mets.

"I wasn't aware of that," Franco said. "You know why? Because I don't feel old."

Franco is about a month older than Fisk was when he took the field for the final time for the Chicago White Sox. Fisk caught 25 games in 1993.

Franco made his debut in 1982 with the Philadelphia Phillies at 23, and won the AL batting title in 1991 with the Texas Rangers. Since signing with the Braves in 2001, he has platooned at first base and served as a pinch-hitter.

"He's probably in the best shape of anybody in this clubhouse," Atlanta leftfielder Chipper Jones said.

RANGERS: Texas signed outfielder Gary Matthews to a minor-league contract. Matthews, who was released by Atlanta during spring training, signed with Oklahoma of the PCL, the Rangers' Triple-A team.

The switch-hitter is a .242 career hitter in 510 major-league games since 1999 for San Diego, the Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh, the New York Mets and Baltimore.

The Rangers also released outfielder Jason Tyner, a former Ray who was assigned to their minor-league camp March 21 after being a non-roster invitee to spring training.

ROYALS: Kansas City put infielder Desi Relaford on the 15-day disabled list and called up left-hander Jaime Cerda from Triple-A Omaha. Relaford strained his left hamstring while running out a base hit Monday.

TIGERS: Detroit placed designated hitter Dmitri Young on the 15-day disabled list with a broken right leg. Young is expected to miss up to six weeks after breaking a bone in his lower leg while dropping to the field in a failed effort to avoid a tag by second baseman Orlando Hudson in the first inning of Tuesday night's 7-3 victory over Toronto. Young appeared to be in severe pain, but put weight on the leg as he was helped off.

The Tigers initially announced he had a sprained ankle, but updated his status after X-rays. His leg was placed in a removable splint. Young hit .297 with 29 home runs and 85 RBIs.

[Last modified April 8, 2004, 01:35:43]


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