Hometown boy Mauer stays put

Minnesota native Joe Mauer has three batting titles and an MVP at age 26.

Associated Press

Minnesota native Joe Mauer has three batting titles and an MVP at age 26.

MINNEAPOLIS — Joe Mauer is staying home.

The AL MVP agreed to an eight-year, $184 million extension with Minnesota on Sunday that includes a full no-trade clause, a massive deal that shows the Twins are no longer a frugal small-market club.

The deal covers the 2011-18 seasons and is the fourth largest, both in total value and average salary, in major-league history. Starting next season, the All-Star catcher will make $23 million per season.

Mauer and the Twins agreed not to comment further until a news conference scheduled for today. His teammates were under no such restrictions.

"I was like, 'Wow that's a lot of money,' " said centerfielder Denard Span, the former Tampa Catholic standout. "That was my first initial reaction, and second reaction was if anybody is worth it, it's him. I just texted him and told him congrats and said let's play some baseball. It's time to win some games."

Mauer, 26, who has won three AL batting titles and is considered one of the best defensive catchers in the game, was entering the final year of his current contract.

The Twins indirectly did the Rays a favor by keeping the sweet-swinging lefty away from the Yankees and Red Sox, who undoubtedly would have bid heavily had he hit the market.

ON THE DOWN SIDE: The Twins learned closer Joe Nathan will miss the season because of a right elbow injury that will require surgery.

The right-hander, 35, who leads the majors with 246 saves since 2004, made the decision after playing catch with pitching coach Rick Anderson for 10 minutes Sunday.

"It didn't go like we hoped," Nathan said. "We knew it was a long shot, but I think this will clear my head. There definitely was no gray area. It was definitely on the dark side."

SCULLY ARRIVES: Bruised physically and emotionally after a fall at his home Thursday, Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully showed he still has his sense of humor. The Hall of Famer, 82, arrived to call his first game of the spring. "I'm supposed to cut back on dangling participles, and I'm not allowed to split any infinitives for at least another week," Scully told reporters.

LABOR TALKS: New players' union head Michael Weiner anticipates that talks with Major League Baseball on a new collective bargaining agreement will begin by next spring training, perhaps earlier.

A'S BALLPARK: Commissioner Bud Selig met with Athletics officials regarding a new stadium but said there is no timetable on when a committee he formed to study the issue will recommend how to proceed.

NATIONALS: Centerfielder Nyjer Morgan, who is recovering from a right hamstring injury, is expected to return to the lineup Thursday.

REDS: Right-hander Edinson Volquez threw off a mound for the second time as he continues to recover from August elbow ligament replacement surgery.

RED SOX: Right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka faced hitters in a game situation for the first time this spring, retiring seven of eight batters in a minor-league game. Matsuzaka, who had been out with an upper back issue, isn't expected to be ready for opening day.

WHITE SOX: Closer Bobby Jenks said he expects to be ready for the season opener after an MRI exam on his irritated right calf revealed no structural damage.

Hometown boy Mauer stays put 03/21/10 [Last modified: Monday, March 22, 2010 12:19am]

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