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Tag:Justin Morneau
Posted on: March 8, 2011 11:11 am
Edited on: March 8, 2011 12:49 pm
 

Morneau returns to action

Justin Morneau
By C. Trent Rosecrans

After playing in his first game in eight months, Twins first baseman Justin Morneau said he was optimistic that his concussion symptoms are behind him.

Morneau played in a  "B" game for the Twins against the Pirates at a back field at the Lee County Sports Complex, home of the Twins' camp.

The former American League MVP had a double and three RBI in two at-bats against the Pirates, while playing four innings in the field.

"It feels good," Morneau told reporters, including the Minneapolis Star-Trirune's Joe Christensen. "It felt good for a while. You can only take batting practice for so long before you find out how it's going to react in a game."

Morneau said he'd take Wednesday off and possibly play in Thursday's game against the Blue Jays.

"It's going to take a while to get back into game shape, but as the brain goes, we're hopefully past all the symptoms and all the rest of that stuff," Morneau said. "And hopefully we're where we need to be."

Morneau hadn't played since suffering a concussion in a game July 7. He saw a doctor on Monday that gave him clearance to play after a  one-hour phone conversation. Morneau had seen the same doctor in Pittsburgh last week. 

In the stands to watch Morneau were his wife Krista and five-month-old daughter Evelyn, along with an estimated 200 fans, reporters and scouts.

The Twins didn't announce Morneau's return before the game, but reporters noticed him warming up.

While Morneau is getting a late start, it's not so late that it will stop him from starting the season on time.

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Posted on: March 8, 2011 9:54 am
Edited on: March 8, 2011 11:09 am
 

Pepper: Paging Dr. Zambrano

Carlos Silva

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Either it's crazy or it makes perfect sense. And, in an upset, I'm going with the latter. 

After his second rough outing of the spring, Cubs starter Carlos Silva went to Carlos Zambrano for help.

Silva allowed 10 hits and eight runs in 2 1/3 innings on Monday, and his first instinct was to turn to his countryman.

"Right after I finished pitching, I texted Zambrano, and I was telling him, 'Man, I don't know what's going on,'" Silva told Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. "What he told me in the text was, 'You just need to forget everything, go out there and pitch and do your thing. You know how to pitch, you did it before, so why can't you do it again.' It's true."

Silva was still frustrated, but he held back and punches this time, so there's progress.

It may seem crazy to go to Zambrano, but there are few people out there more uniquely suited to help Silva than his fellow Carlos. Both are from Venezuela, both have had trouble living up to high expectations and big contracts and both have had incidents with teammates in the dugout. But Zambrano has, at least in the last couple of months, shown signs of bouncing back. He's undergone anger management and worked hard just to get back into the Cub uniform. Sometimes when you're struggling, you just need to hear from someone who has been there. If anyone can find the right words for the talented Silva, it just may be Zambrano. And for now, it doesn't seem like it could hurt.

REMEMBERING CHRISTINA: The White Sox and Diamondbacks played an exhibition in Tucson on Monday to raise money on behalf of shooting victim Christina-Taylor Green.

Yahoo!'s Jeff Passan was there and passes on the moving story.

HAIRY BIRDS: Facial hair fans, it's time to celebrate -- the Orioles are relaxing their ban on the most manly of expressions, in response to Derrek Lee and Vladimir Guerrero desires to wear goatees.

Luke Scott and Nick Markakis are taking advantage of the new rules, as well. (Baltimore Sun)

CONFUSING CONCUSSIONS: Sometimes there's a story that just grabs me and I read everything that comes along about it. For the last couple of years for me, that's been concussions in sports.

The New York Times looks at how no two concussions are alike, using the examples of Justin Morneau and Josh Beckett.

While Beckett bounced back from his concussion last week, Morneau still isn't back.

NAME GAME: Looking for some puny fantasy baseball names? The Orange County Register has you covered, if just for its several Shin-Soo Choo puns. I'm one of those people that have the same name every year since I've been playing -- Royal Disappointment. And I've yet to not live up to my name.

LONEY RETURNS: James Loney was back on the field Monday after missing two days with a swollen left knee. He didn't play in the Dodgers' game, but could return to the lineup by Wednesday, manager Don Mattingly said. (MLB.com)

UTLEY TO OF? Phillies senior adviser Dallas Green thinks it might be wise to move Chase Utley from second base to help save his knees. The Philadelphia Daily News' Paul Hagan disagrees.

GOOD IMPRESSION: If you haven't heard of the Braves' Julio Teheran yet, you will. The top pitching prospect in baseball made his first appearance in a Grapefruit League game yesterday and hit 96 in a scoreless inning of work. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

HOT TICKET: The Marlins have sold out the Diamond Club section of their new ballpark for next season. Now, that's just 379 seats, but they're high-priced seats, so it doesn't exactly hurt.

The team says the highest-priced seats are selling well. (MLB.com)

NO BUENO: The blog itsabouthtemoney.net takes up the case to former Cardinals minor league shortstop Lainer Bueno who was suspended for the first 50 games of this season for testing positive for clenbuterol.

The blog notes it's possible Bueno tested positive for the drug because it is used in livestock and its possible that he ate meat in Venezuela that contained clenbuterol.

HALL OF FAME DEBATE: Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson is once again on the College Football Hall of Fame ballot. He's been on the ballot since 2007.

An All-American wide receiver at Michigan State, he led the Big Ten in receiving in league play and led the team to a co-championship in 1978. Gibson only played one season of baseball at Michigan State and was drafted in the first round of the baseball draft and seventh round of the NFL draft by the St. Louis Cardinals.

SPEAKING OF TWO-SPORT STARS: Former Hazelton (Penn.) High quarterback Joe Maddon invited Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris and two assistants to be his guests at the Rays' camp today.

Maddon said he'd like a chance to run the Bucs' scout team in practice. (St. Petersburg Times)

NG TO MLB: Dodgers vice president Kim Ng is reportedly leaving the team to join the home office of Major League Baseball under new vice president Joe Torre. (Los Angeles Times)

DEMOCRATIC CONCESSIONS: CNBC.com's Darren Rovell is asking readers to vote on the next great ballpark food and dessert -- and the winner from each category will be served at historic Grayson Stadium in Savannah, Ga., home of the Mets' Class A South Atlantic League affiliate, the Savannah Sand Gnats.

STATS TO GO: Baseball-Reference.com has beefed up its mobile site for use on your smart phone, so when you're not at home and you just have to know what George Brett's career slugging percentage is (.487), you know have hope.

SEVEN-MAN ROTATION: The Softbank Hawks of Japan's Pacific League are considering a seven-man rotation for this season. (YakyuBaka.com)


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Posted on: March 1, 2011 5:00 pm
 

Cuddyer has wart removed, out one to two weeks

Posted by Matt Snyder

After two unsuccessful freezing attempts, Michael Cuddyer was forced to fly back to Minnesota and have a plantar wart surgically removed from his left foot. He had been trying to play through the pain after it wouldn't freeze, but was favoring his left side. The Twins thought it best to get the growth removed now rather than have Cuddyer hampered by the time the regular season rolled around.

He'll miss the next one to two weeks, according to the Star Tribune .

Contained in the same report was a mention that Justin Morneau is currently in Pittsburgh, meeting with a specialist as expected. To read our previous coverage of that situation, click here .

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Posted on: February 28, 2011 11:10 am
 

Morneau's return nearing completion

Posted by Matt Snyder

It's been a long, long road back from a July 7 concussion for former AL MVP Justin Morneau, but he may be passing his final test very soon.

The Twins star first baseman will visit a specialist in Pittsburgh, a visit which is viewed as "one of his final hurdles," according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune .

Morneau, 29, was kneed in the head last July and hasn't played since then with lingering effects from his concussion. He has been able to take part in team drills and has been wearing sunglasses (as seen in the picture to the right). Apparently he can still swing it, as the Star Tribune reporter notes Morneau has "battered batting practice pitches all over the Lee County Sports Complex."

He was the MVP in 2006 and has made all four All-Star Games since that season. In exactly half a season's worth of games in 2010, Morneau was killing opposing pitchers. He had a career-best 1.055 OPS with 18 home runs and 56 RBI. He was on pace to set career highs in runs, hits, doubles, home runs and walks. Every rate stat (.345/.437/.618) was the best of his career.

It goes without saying what he means to the Twins' lineup, but let's hope for him as a person he can soon put the head injury issues behind him.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: February 26, 2011 9:37 pm
Edited on: February 26, 2011 11:52 pm
 

Getting to know the Twins

Posted by Matt Snyder

MVP


With all due apologies to Justin Morneau, this one is a no-brainer. The Twins have plenty of good players and two superstars, but Joe Mauer is easily tops in this bunch. The 2009 AL MVP probably won't ever hit 28 home runs in a season again, but he's still the best offensive catcher in the game, going .327/.402/.469 last year. His career OPS-plus is 136, which is incredible for a catcher. He's a team leader, good guy and local hero. Not much to not like here.

PLAYER ORACLE : Walter Johnson to Francisco Liriano

Walter Johnson played with Firpo Marberry on the 1923 Washington Senators

Firpo Marberry played with Schoolboy Rowe on the 1933 Detroit Tigers

Schoolboy Rowe played with Curt Simmons on the 1947 Philadelphia Phillies

Curt Simmons played with Steve Carlton on the 1966 St. Louis Cardinals

Steve Carlton played with Terry Mulholland on the 1986 San Francisco Giants

Terry Mulholland played with Francisco Liriano on the 2005 Minnesota Twins


POP CULTURE

A decent amount of stuff to choose from here. You could go the Major League: Back to the Minors route, but I'm moving on with my life convinced that debacle never happened. I guess Little Big League would be an option, but I'm not a fan. How about this:

Don't Call Them Twinkies

Solid, relatively obscure songs about teams are always much preferred to forced Hollywood crap that doesn't have anything to do with the real team.

Posted on: January 14, 2011 8:19 pm
Edited on: January 14, 2011 8:19 pm
 

Morneau: 'I will be ready' for spring training

Justin Morneau
After watching the Twins swept out of the first round of the playoffs again, Twins fans wondered what might have been if they hadn't been without their best offensive player. Justin Morneau is determined to make sure there are no such unanswered questions this season.

The first baseman, who had an MVP-worthy .345/.437/.618 line when he was knocked out for the season with a concussion on July 7, said in an email to MLB.com's Kelly Thesier that he's on track to be active without restriction when spring training opens next month.

"I started full workouts this week again after the Christmas break and everything is going well," Morneau wrote. "There is still no question in my mind that I will be ready to go for Spring Training."

Doctors have been cautious in allowing Morneau to increase his physical activity because of lingering concussion symptoms that worsened when he was active in the first months after the injury. This winter he has been able to lift weights and do agility work, and he plans to resume baseball activities late this month.

"On the last call I had with the doctor, one of the changes was that in July, August and September, the protocol was whenever he had symptoms to back off," general manager Bill Smith said Friday. "Now I think the doctor has given him more of a go-ahead; if the symptoms are mild, you play through it, work through it. We think that's a great sign, and the doctor was very pleased the last time he saw him."

The Twins open the regular season in Toronto, where Morneau suffered the concussion when he took a knee to the head sliding into second base.

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Posted on: December 20, 2010 4:47 pm
Edited on: December 20, 2010 5:39 pm
 

Gardy, Nishioka and the Sluggie

Tsuyoshi Nishioka
As if Tsuyoshi Nishioka didn't have enough culture shock to absorb the day of his introductory news conference with the Twins, he got to experience the Sluggie.

The Sluggie is the "blanket with sleeves" being marketed by Twins slugger Justin Morneau, featuring him swinging a bat in the middle of a maple leaf from his native Canada. It is NOT to be confused with that other million-selling product whose name is just one letter different (at least, Morneau hopes Snuggie lawyers don't think so).

A Twins employee snapped this picture of Nishioka with manager Ron Gardenhire just before the Japanese infielder was introduced at Target Field. Don't you wish you could have been inside Nishioka's head?

"So, American ballplayers walk around wearing backwards bathrobes in the clubhouse?"

"Have I signed on with a cult?"

"I had heard it was cold here, but I don't think these new uniforms are going to be easy to run in."


I wish I could tell you that Sluggies are available to take care of all your last-minute holiday shopping needs, but they appear to be sold out on Morneau's website.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: November 26, 2010 5:51 pm
Edited on: November 29, 2010 10:50 am
 

Hot Stove League profile: Jim Thome

For the past three week, CBS Sports' MLB Facts and Rumors has been profiling both free agents and trade candidates who will help stoke the fires of the Hot Stove League. Today, we wrap up with ageless DH Jim Thome.

Hot Stove League When Jim Thome signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal with Minnesota last winter, it was greeted with a collective shrug. Thome had batted .249 in 2009, was traded by the White Sox late in the season for a minor leaguer in a clear salary dump, and was approaching his 40th birthday. A wire story on the signing noted that "he'll be more of a bench player than the middle-of-the-lineup-force he's been for 19 seasons."

Well, Thome exceeded everyone's expectations in 2010, likely including those of the Twins. He had a .283/.412/.627 line at the plate, with his OPS of 1.039 the highest since 2002 and his OPS+ of 178 the second-best of his career. He had 59 RBI and hit 25 homers, bringing his total to 589, eighth all-time. He was productive, healthy, and actually got better as the season wore on.

Thome's not going to sneak up on anybody next year, and he's not going to be available for $1.5 million, either. He's going to be back to make a run at 600 homers, but where?

STATS

2010: .283/.412/.627, 59 RBI, 25 HR in 340 PA.

Career: .278/.404/.559, 1,624 RBI, 589 HR (eighth all-time).

Jim Thome WHAT IT WILL TAKE

Thome should command something in the neighborhood of $5 million for one year, probably with an incentive tied to plate appearances. Since he's made almost $140 million in his career and could be playing his final season, you would think he'd be looking beyond money. He'll want to be somewhere he can play, and he'll want a chance at the World Series ring that has eluded him for two decades.

WHERE HE COULD GO

Thome spoke glowingly of his experience in Minnesota, where the former Twin killer enjoyed huge popularity, and Twins GM Bill Smith is on record as wanting Thome to return. One potential sticking point could be playing time.

The reason Thome played so much in 2010 is because Jason Kubel, who was supposed to be the regular DH, was called upon to play in right field after right fielder Michael Cuddyer had to take over at first due to Justin Morneau's season-ending concussion. The Twins have picked up Kubel's option for 2011, and Thome's return would give them two left-handed designated hitters. Thome, who kills right-handed pitching, could end up in a platoon situation, but not with another left-handed hitter.

So who else could use him? The Red Sox picked up the option on David Ortiz, so there went one good option. The Tigers seemed like a decent fit, but now say newly signed Victor Martinez will DH most of the time. The White Sox have been trying to upgrade at DH, and the Angels and Rays also could use a better option there. There are some losing teams in the market for a DH (Mariners, Orioles), but it seems likely Thome will prefer a contender.

PREDICTION

The Twins are able to promise Thome enough playing time to entice him back for one more run at a title.

OTHER PROFILES
J. Bartlett | H. Bell | A. Beltre | C. Crawford | A. Dunn | P. Fielder | P. Konerko | C. Lee | V. Martinez (SIGNED) | D. Uggla (TRADED) | R. Soriano | J. Upton | J. Werth

-- David Andriesen

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com