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Pneumonia latest setback for Mauer in frustrating 2011 season

Joe Mauer wipes the sweat from his eyes during a game earlier this season. Mauer, who has missed much of the season because of injuries and illness, met with the press Monday and said he is following the advice of his doctors. AP Photo

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Joe Mauer looked pale and a little gaunt. His voice was scratchy, interrupted often by a round of coughs.

The Minnesota Twins catcher has pneumonia, the latest malady in this maddening season full of them. His last game of the year came on Sept. 14.

But Mauer said Monday he's sure there's nothing wrong with him more than the sickness that prematurely ended his rough season, and he insisted he would be on the field if doctors hadn't advised him to rest.

"Guys throw their own two cents on it, but like I said, this is what I have. I have pneumonia, and I've got to deal with it. Just got to take care of it," Mauer said in front of his cubicle in the clubhouse after appearing at Target Field for the first time in weeks.

Mauer was diagnosed with a mild case of pneumonia on Sept. 16, and doctors recommended medication plus two weeks of rest. He came down with an upper respiratory infection on Sept. 2 before developing a cough and deciding to visit the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, and doctors determined he never fully recovered from the first condition, which led to what he's dealing with now.

"I tried playing through it, and it turned into this," Mauer said. "I was just advised by everybody that this isn't the right direction that we're supposed to go. Obviously I was frustrated with it, and obviously I wanted to finish this season playing, but I just wasn't able to."

Mauer also was out of action for two months earlier in the year while recovering from weakness and soreness in his legs. The 2009 AL MVP played in only 82 games this season, batting .287 with three home runs and 30 RBIs in 296 at-bats.

Visits to the Mayo Clinic by an elite 28-year-old athlete are not routine, so questions and concerns have been raised about Mauer's condition. But he said he was confident in the simple diagnosis.

"That's what Mayo does. They check everything, and that's what they came up with," Mauer said. "I trust the doctors and am doing everything they told me to do."

Mauer said he wasn't ready to devise a revamped offseason workout plan until he gets over the pneumonia, but he'll be trying to find a better way to strengthen his legs so he can continue to be an All-Star catcher. This is the first year of the $184 million contract that will pay him $23 million annually through 2018.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Melky Cabrera became the first Kansas City player in 11 years to get 200 hits and Mike Moustakas hit the go-ahead home run in a four-run sixth inning as the Royals topped the Minnesota Twins 7-3 on Monday night.

Cabrera hit an infield single and scored the game's opening run in the first inning and added another infield single in the sixth.

Felipe Paulino (4-6) gave up three runs and six hits in six innings, striking out nine.

Kevin Slowey (0-8) allowed five runs and 10 hits in 5 2-3 innings.