Morneau out for season
MINNEAPOLIS — Justin Morneau is the latest Twins player to be shut down for the season.
Two days after the club announced Joe Mauer and Tsuyoshi Nishioka won’t play again this year, Twins trainer Rick McWane said Morneau will be held out of action because of his concussion-like symptoms and will also have a cyst removed from his left knee this week.
“He’s been battling various ailments the last couple weeks in addition to his concussion symptoms and we’ve decided to shut him down,” McWane said. “He’s actually going to have surgery on his left knee sometime this week to remove a cyst that has been bothering him off and on for about a year.”
Morneau, who has also been sick with the flu in recent days, has been out with concussion symptoms stemming from a dive for a ground ball on Aug. 28.
He hoped to return as a designated hitter before the season ended, but his latest battle with the flu set him back, and the club hasn’t had a chance to evaluate his concussion symptoms the last few days.
“He’s been sick and throwing up and had a headache, so we haven’t had a chance to truly evaluate how he really feels,” McWane said. “But the knee surgery is a very simple surgery.”
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he wasn’t surprised by the decision, as there are just 10 days left in the season, and the training staff had been leaning toward shutting down Morneau.
“They’ve been talking about that over and over again,” Gardenhire said. “Then he got the flu bug and that kept him away for a couple days too. So we really haven’t been able to sit down with him and talk to him other than over the phone. He came in yesterday but hasn’t been doing too well.”
Morneau finishes the season with a .227 batting average, .285 on-base percentage and .333 slugging percentage along with four homers and 30 RBIs in just 69 games. He missed 56 games from mid-June until mid-August with a sprained left wrist and also underwent neck surgery on June 29.
Morneau, who played in just 81 games last season after suffering a concussion before the All-Star break, has missed 201 games over the last three years. It’s still unclear whether he’ll be able to remain at first base next season, or if he’ll be limited to serving as the club’s designated hitter.
“It’s just the unknown,” Gardenhire said. “I was hoping we’d have a better idea of having him on the field and taking some swings but it didn’t work out. So I won’t have any answers until we get to Spring Training.”