Today, Joe Mauer was scratched out of the lineup with an upper respiratory infection. And after hanging out on the Internet for awhile, and seeing all the comments about Mauer, and his durability. So, I've decided to, debunk the softness issues. Which has been done before, and likely will be done again.
First, I'd like to state the obvious: Joe Mauer isn't taking himself out of the lineup. Let's all remember that.
Since Mauer came up in 2004, and played in 35 games, but since then, while not an iron man, he has been a far cry from the china doll that he seems to be thought of as.
From 2005-2010, Mauer has played in 801 games, out of a possible 972. That is 82%.
What about games at catcher? Mauer has caught so far, in his career, 769 games. Which is only 14th among active catchers. The all time leader is Ivan Rodriguez, who is at 2,424. Jorge Posada (1.573), Jason Varitek (1,479), A.J. Pierzynski (1,416), and Ramon Hernandez (1,381) round out the top 5.
We can ignore the top 5, because of the simple fact that if Mauer had played in every game from 2004 until the end of this season, and had never missed one game, and he had caught them all, he'd still only have caught 1,269 games.
As far as catchers who have played a more comparable amount of games to Mauer's, 4 of them (Brian McCann, Henry Blanco, Yadier Molina, and Brian Schneider) have spent most, if not all of their career in the National League, giving them far fewer DH opportunities.
Out of the active catchers who are on above Mauer on the active defensive games as a catcher list, apart from the top 5, (Schneider, Rod Barajas, Miguel Olivo, Molina [2004-2008], Blanco, and John Buck) 6 of the 8 have not qualified for a batting title for most of their careers. Yadier Molina and Brian McCann are the only ones who have ever accumulated the 502 required PAs for a batting title. Molina didn't even qualify for his first batting title until 2009.
Hell, in terms of catchers in their 20's, Mauer ranks third in games caught, behind Molina and McCann. Catchers who came up in 2004? Third. Behind Molina and Buck.
Is it fair to get irritated with Mauer's injuries this year? Yes. Is it accurate to get upset about his needing to "be a man" and "play through the pain" and "catch more"? Clearly it is not.