Catcher suffers knee injury

MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Twins rookie catcher Joe Mauer went
on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday with a sprained left knee,
and will be out about a month.

Mauer, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2001 amateur draft, tore
medial meniscus cartilage and will have arthroscopic 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.

Matthew LeCroy started in place of Mauer on Wednesday night,
strained an oblique muscle and joined him on the disabled list.
Veteran Henry Blanco, a career .219 hitter, becomes the everyday
catcher until the others heal, and the Twins will call someone up
from the minors on Thursday.

"I'm more disappointed than anything," Mauer said. "You get
up here, you're all excited. To have something set you back, it's
pretty tough."

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 night against Cleveland.

Mauer left in the bottom of the third, after 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 came
out to check on Mauer and took him out of the game.

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

Center fielder Torii Hunter and starting pitcher Johan Santana
also left Tuesday's game with injuries.

Hunter will be out four to five days with a strained right
hamstring, and Santana will make his next start after muscle spasms
in his left forearm forced him out in the fifth inning. The spasms
caused a cramp in Santana's thumb.