Mauer to see new role?

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FORT MYERS, Fla. — For the last 13 years, the Twins lineup has featured Joe Mauer.

The six-time All Star has won three Gold Gloves and collected an MVP award.

But at 34, Mauer is aging, and his game has begun to deteriorate. Last year in particular, he struggled against left-handed pitching.

After his first spring training game, manager Paul Molitor said, “I still like Joe up there somewhere, against right-handed pitching in particular.”

Mauer still has two season left on his contract, and he is set to make more than $23 million this year. His contract makes him nearly untradeable. But, as Molitor hinted, his role may change.

Mauer may be used as part of a first-base platoon. With whom? Only time will tell. Likely candidates include Kennys Vargas and Byung Ho Park. Although both are in camp on minor-league details, either one could break-camp with the big-league club as serve as a left-handed hitting specialist.

-Ethan Kibbe

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