Mauer surprises with ASG appearance at first

Minnesota’s Joe Mauer was the only Twin selected to the 2012 All-Star game, and he made the American League roster as a catcher. But Mauer entered Tuesday’s game in the top of the eighth inning — as a first baseman.

Mauer’s appearance in Tuesday’s 8-0 National League victory was a brief one, as he didn’t enter the game until the eighth inning and had just one at-bat as his American League squad was shut out.

Defensively, Mauer made the scoop on a low throw by Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler to retire Houston’s Jose Altuve for the first out of the eighth inning. That was the only play Mauer was involved that inning, though, as Starlin Castro flew out to center field for the second out and Michael Bourn struck out to end the eighth. Mauer was on the end of all three plays in the ninth inning, as Rays reliever Fernando Rodney induced three ground ball outs.

In Mauer’s only at-bat of the night, he singled off Arizona left-handed reliever Wade Miley to lead off the ninth inning. Mauer sent a 1-2 pitch from Miley back up the middle for a base hit, the sixth hit of the night for the American League. Mauer was forced out at second base on a ground ball by Elvis Andrus for the first out of the ninth inning, which ended Mauer’s brief All-Star appearance.

Mauer has played 14 games at first base this season for the Twins, along with 38 at catcher and 23 as designated hitter. Mauer made his first-ever appearance at first base during the 2011 season, in which he also played one game in right field. Minnesota has moved Mauer around the field to help keep him healthy and in the lineup on a regular basis.

Tuesday marked Mauer’s fifth career All-Star appearance. He played for the AL in the 2006 game and from 2008-10. Including Tuesday’s game, Mauer is now 3-for-9 in those five All-Star games. He had one hit each in 2008 and 2009, including a double and an RBI in the 2009 game.

Prior to the All-Star break, Mauer was batting .326 with a league-high on-base percentage of .416. He’s hit five home runs, driven in 41 runs and drawn 44 walks in 77 games.

Mauer and the Twins resume play on Friday when they host the Oakland Athletics for a three-game series at Target Field. Minnesota finished the first half with a 36-49 record, 11 games out of first place in the American League Central.

Follow Tyler Mason on Twitter.