Joe Mauer does not have Lyme disease.
That was one of the questions the Minnesota Twins catcher answered Thursday when he addressed the media. There have been numerous questions about the nature of Mauer's extended illness and his recovery since he went on the disabled list in April. According to the Minnesota Star-Tribune, the decision to talk to the media was made in order to prevent Mauer's Friday return from becoming a distraction for the team. While Mauer wouldn't go so far as to say he's 100 percent healthy, he did say he was feeling "great" and that he's prepared to catch back-to-back games. Certainly the Twins are hopeful that his return will last. Time will tell.
The Atlanta Braves have a couple new injury concerns. Pitcher Tommy Hanson was scratched from his Friday start with what the team is calling tendinitis in his throwing (right) shoulder. The team later placed him on the 15-day DL. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the shoulder has been bothering him for a couple starts. Not that anyone would have noticed, especially given that he had struck out 14 in his last outing.
Meanwhile, third baseman Chipper Jones left Thursday night's game with a right adductor (groin) strain. According to the Braves official website, he received an injection immediately afterward. Jones has been dealing with groin issues intermittently since late May and at 39, these soft tissue injuries just don't heal quite as quickly. For now he is considered day-to-day.
The Boston Red Sox also had a couple of early exits Thursday night. Pitcher Clay Buchholz left the game after five innings with tightness in his lower back. According to ESPN Boston, Buchholz described it as "a nagging back that's been the same since last year." Buchholz acknowledged that by the fifth inning he could tell he was compensating in his delivery for the discomfort in his back. Knowing that this can lead to other injuries, such as the shoulder or elbow variety, is one reason the team wants to address this. Buchholz is expected to be evaluated back in Boston.
Meanwhile, his teammate Jed Lowrie continues to experience problems with his left shoulder nearly three weeks after originally injuring it in a collision with Carl Crawford. Lowrie told reporters Thursday of the sensation he experienced while striking out, "It felt like it slipped out. It wasn't out, but it felt like it came out and went back in." His description fits that of a classic subluxation, where the shoulder feels like it moves out of place but does not dislocate. It can be painful not only when it happens, but afterward, as the muscles around the joint can go into protective spasm. Lowrie, who left Thursday's game in the first inning, was then placed on the DL on Friday. While an earlier MRI turned up nothing significant, the DL stint does give Lowrie not only the time to let the symptoms subside, but to work on the necessary strengthening to protect his shoulder going forward.