The Minnesota Twins announced Monday that All-Star catcher Joe Mauer will transition to first base beginning next season.
Mauer, who has sustained concussions and other injuries during his career, is making the move to decrease chances of future injuries. The Twins said they and Mauer made the decision after consulting with doctors from Mayo Clinic and team doctors.
"This was one of the tougher decisions I've had to make but also probably one of the easiest," Mauer said in a conference call. "It was a tough decision because I love catching and it's something I've worked hard at my whole life to become the best catcher I could be. So I'm a little disappointed my catching career had to end like this.
"If I were to have another concussion, the symptoms would probably last as long or even longer. What concerned everybody involved was how long it took me to be symptom free."
Mauer, an American League Silver Slugger this year, batted .324 with 11 home runs and 47 RBIs in 113 games. He sustained a concussion on a foul tip off his mask on Aug. 19. He was placed on the 7-day concussion disabled list on Aug. 20 and did not return for the rest of the season.
Mauer is symptom free from the concussion, according to the team, and began his offseason workouts without restrictions.
In 56 major-league games at first base, Mauer has committed four errors in 536 chances for a .993 fielding percentage.
He has caught 920 games and earned three Gold Glove Awards (2008-10). He was named American League MVP while winning his third batting title in 2009 and is a six-time All-Star.