Friday, August 12, 2011

Justin Morneau Returns to the Twins Lineup

I would like to extend a big "welcome back" to Justin Morneau in regards to his return to the field in tonight's Twins-Indians matchup at Cleveland. Despite the 2-8 record in the last 10 games (which really is the only thing that does matter), the Twins have had a decent week...

Joe Nathan topped the Twins' all-time Saves leader board. Jim Thome, while still two away from the coveted 600 mark, has remained effective in the lineup knocking in RBI after RBI. Alexi Casilla has been lifted off the DL. And bringing up the rear as last but not least, Morneau will return after more than two months of recovery after neck surgery.

To illustrate how important Morneau's return will be tonight, think about how many games the heavy-hitting duo of Morneau and Mauer have played together... I'll give you a hint: you can count them on one hand... if you have 9 fingers on that one hand. My point being, Mauer and Morneau have only been in the lineup together in nine of the last 198 games this season.

No wonder we are 10 games back.

The word on the field is that Morneau is back to his former self while hitting down in Triple A. While this is encouraging, I will wait to see it to believe it. Triple A, from my experience (which is none) is completely different than the Majors. If Morneau can come in tonight and hit yard, he will have my vote of confidence. I realize that may be asking a lot from a man with many previous health issues, but desperate times call for desperate goals?

Besides, Morneau was one of the main advocates for the removal of the Target Field trees in center field. He needs to make up for the poor call in my mind. The trees made it harder for hitters to hit? Right. Because the hitters hit so much worse last year with the vision-imparing evergreens than they have this year with an open-range view. You won't convince me.

Back to the main point - I am glad to have Morneau back in the lineup because of his leadership skills, but I'll wait until around 10pm tonight to see if I am just as happy about his return to the lineup.

By the way, Cuddyer and Valencia are the only two Twins regulars that have yet to miss a game due to injury. Happy season. (CORRECTION AS OF 3:53 on 08/12: Cuddyer is out of the lineup due to a neck strain incident that arose out of Friday's batting practice.)

Also, did you know that Justin Morneau is the proud owner of The Graves hotel in Minneapolis? I just learned that yesterday and thought it to be interesting.

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