March 8, 2011

Justin Morneau returns to the lineup for the first time in eight months

(Kelly Thesier of snapped a picture before his first at-bat.)

Justin Morneau played in a "B" game against the Pirates today, returning to any lineup for the first time since suffering a concussion eight months ago. While it's still premature to say that he's completely out of the woods, this marks the biggest step in his recovery since the collision at second base with John McDonald on July 7 and dramatically increases Morneau's odds of being in the Opening Day lineup three weeks from now. Great news.

Not to be overshadowed by the big Morneau news, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune has decided to fight back against the millions and millions of people who confuse him for Al Newman on an hourly basis. You decide: Twins beat reporter or 80s/90s utility infielder?

  • Siehbiscuit

    It is extremely encouraging to see Morneau facing “live” pitching again! If the Twins are going to contend we need Morneau healthy.

  • mike wants WINS

    Looks like a HS game, with those pirates’ unis and the lack of OF bleachers….glad he’s out there.

  • DH in Philly

    Truly, that picture is worth a thousand words.

  • Jeff O.

    Best Twins-related news I’ve heard in a long time. I’m pumped.

  • Brandon

    While it has been incredibly frustrating as a fan to see Morneau out of action for so long, I can only image the frustration that this injury has caused him. Great to see him back in the box and like Siehbiscuit said, if they Twins are going to make a run this year, they need Morneau healthy. Great news.

  • There deserves to be more than 5 comments for this news. Hooray!

  • Nathan Gau


  • Here’s a perplexing question: Why do we remember Al Newman (.581 OPS, 59 OPS+ w/Minnesota; average 375 PAs/year) semi-fondly and revile Nick Punto (.648/74/387)? Were we just younger and stupider in the late 80s/early 90s?

  • Ted

    Many things can be forgiven when you win a championship.

  • Ted

    Also, until his last two or three seasons with the Twins, I think Punto was actually liked by the fans. And this is neither Punto’s fault nor to Newman’s credit, but Newman was more properly utilized/payed. Those last few years, especially the last two when he made $4 mil/per, being forced into the lineup as a regular in the #2 slot, Punto was simply set up for failure, and the fans couldn’t forgive Punto for Gardenhire’s unwillingness to bench him.

  • scot

    A healthy Morneau in October is what the Twins need to get to World Series. Welcome back Justin!

  • Eric J

    Anyone know how Kyle Gibson looked in this B game?

  • It looks like he hasn’t changed batting helmets. I would think that a player who just missed half a season and still isn’t fully back yet would take every measure he could to avoid another injury. For starters, a batting helmet with two ear flaps would be good to go along with more padding inside.