Joe Mauer gets back to 'The Show,' spring training

Wed, Feb 16

Joe Mauer is keeping busy on his last full day before he officially gets back to baseball.

Mauer, who reports for spring training with the Minnesota Twins on Thursday, has been making the rounds promoting "MLB 11: The Show" for PlayStation 3. Mauer, who is on the game's cover for the second straight year, visited ESPN on Wednesday after playing a bit of the game against Jimmy Fallon on his show in New York on Tuesday.

Mauer, who grew up playing video games, said it was a thrill to be on the cover again, a rarity in sports games. "I was pleasantly surprised when they asked me to do it again," he said.

He said the game, which is available on March 8, is popular in the clubhouse, even for research purposes.

"Actually, a lot of guys use it, kind of like scouting, like a visual tool, for the upcoming team. A lot of our pitchers use it to just get a visual of their lineup and their stance, things like that," Mauer said. "Other guys just use it to pass time on the plane or the bus. It's fun, it's pretty realistic."

Mauer wore the motion-capture suit for the game's designers last year, and said he was impressed when he saw his movements in the game.

"I did my whole routine once I get into the [batter's] box, and to see that in the video game was pretty cool," Mauer said. "I do the same thing every time. You have 600 at-bats a year, so you tend to do the same thing, so to see them pay attention to that minor detail is pretty cool."

But on Thursday, he'll get back to the real thing when he reports, with workouts starting Friday.

"No matter what you do in the offseason, you can't really prepare for spring training. It's a lot of standing around getting everyone on the same page," Mauer said. "It's fun to see the guys and get back in the clubhouse with the guys. I always thought spring training was a little long, but it's a good time to get down there in the sunshine and get going."