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  • A Sleeping Giant Awakened?

    Early in the season, Justin Morneau looked a lot like he did last year at the plate. That is to say: he was tentative, consistently fooled by good breaking balls, and generally ineffective.

    At the end of April, he informed the team that his wrist had been ailing him for the better part of two weeks. He sat out a few days, then ended up on the disabled list, returning on May 16th.

    It would seem that the rest did him some good. Since coming back from the DL, Morneau has looked very much like his old self, and not just because he's once again playing first base on a regular basis after serving mostly as DH in the first month. He's locked in at the plate and crushing the ball in a way we haven't seen for almost two years.

    After going 3-for-5 with two homers and a double in Thursday night's loss to the White Sox, Morneau is hitting .290/.343/.742 with four homers, two doubles and 12 RBI in eight games. His eight total home runs put him on pace for 30 on the year despite the missed time. And while his plate approach was shaky earlier in the season, his recent at-bats have been marked by far more patience.

    It may be too early to declare that the vintage Morneau is officially "back." After all, he's still hitting only .248 on the season and we're talking about a 10-day stretch of improvement.

    But here's one thing I look at as a supremely positive sign: the first baseman's mammoth home run off of Will Ohman in the seventh inning on Wednesday.

    Now, Ohman isn't one of the top relievers in the league by any stretch, but he's been awfully good at shutting down left-handed hitters over the course of his career. And Morneau, well, he ain't been so good against southpaws lately. Last year he posted a meager .159/.183/.217 line against lefties and this year he'd been even worse, with a .059 batting average and 11-to-0 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 34 plate appearances.

    But Morneau absolutely obliterated an offering from Ohman, driving it an estimated 451 feet to straightaway center. According to ESPN's Stats and Info department, it was the longest home run hit by a left-handed batter against a left-handed pitcher this year.

    One at-bat can't prove anything. But it sure can make a statement.
    This article was originally published in blog: A Sleeping Giant Awakened? started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 15 Comments
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      This would be good.
    1. glunn's Avatar
      glunn -
      This could be a difference maker. Mauer also homered, and if those two can get going, then there will be a lot more run production.
    1. USAFChief's Avatar
      USAFChief -
      Let's keep our fingers crossed. Health and a return to his previous status as a hitter would be really, really good news.
    1. Montecore's Avatar
      Montecore -
      Good to see. Too bad they blew 3 or 4 chances and Duensing's mess.
    1. JB_Iowa's Avatar
      JB_Iowa -
      Another thing I found positive about last night was that Morneau played first again (all 3 games in the series). On Wednesday night he made a tag on someone and Bremer commented about how it was so danagerous to his wrist ... and all I could think was "if making a tag at 1st is dangerous to the wrist, he needs to retire." (Yes, I reallize he could DH).

      It's nice to see the (no longer so) big guy looking like a recognizable facsimile of his former self.
    1. jmlease1's Avatar
      jmlease1 -
      I'm just happy to see him playing and playing well. I hope he gets a well-deserved run of good health.
    1. JasonDRuiz's Avatar
      JasonDRuiz -
      Would be a great story if he comes back for good. He's a beast when he's healthy and dialed in.
    1. DAM DC Twins Fans's Avatar
      DAM DC Twins Fans -
      I think Justin would rather play first than DH and his hitting shows that. May this good hitting continue.
    1. stringer bell's Avatar
      stringer bell -
      Maybe I'm dwelling on the negatives too much, but Morneau has dreadful splits against lefties. I won't believe he's "back" until he is able to sustain solid ABs against portsiders.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      In his 2006 MVP season he was batting .237 with a .756 OPS on this day in May. If "healthy and dialed in" from here on out, it still could be a great ride.
    1. buckshotmike's Avatar
      buckshotmike -
      If Morneau continues his improvement, will the Twins trade him? How many years does he have left? Is he a long term answer still?
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Miguel Sano will be the 1st baseman in 2015. That leaves one year between the end of Morneau's contract and the beginning of Sano's. Parmelee will probably work out.
    1. TKGuy's Avatar
      TKGuy -
      Interesting stat ashbury. Boy if he could hear up, the market could be great for him
    1. eveldrive's Avatar
      eveldrive -
      His value is on the rise now having hit a few homeruns lately. The Twins should trade him if the offers they get provide valuable pitching prospects. Too bad Mauer has a no-trade clause because they need to trade him as well. The Twins after all need to rebuild.
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      Quote Originally Posted by shanewahl View Post
      Miguel Sano will be the 1st baseman in 2015. That leaves one year between the end of Morneau's contract and the beginning of Sano's. Parmelee will probably work out.
      If Sano were to move to 1st, he's taking an EXTREMELY similar path to another Miguel a few of us have heard about. I hope we get similar results.
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