Skip to content

Twins drop slumping Justin Morneau in lineup

Apr 16, 2012, 6:31 PM EDT

Chris Iannetta, Justin Morneau AP

Justin Morneau finished the spring in a frenzy, but it hasn’t carried over, as he’s hit just .206/.270/.353 with two RBI and 10 strikeouts in 34 at-bats since the regular season started. As a result, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has decided to drop him down to fifth in the lineup and insert Josh Willingham in between Joe Mauer and Morneau.

MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger reports that it’s the first time since April 4, 2008 that Mauer and Morneau have been in the lineup and not hit back-to-back. Mauer was a No. 2 hitter that day, with Michael Cuddyer hitting third ahead of Morneau.

Dropping Morneau in the lineup seemed like the smart choice from the moment Willingham was signed by the Twins, particularly against left-handers. If nothing else, it would have served to separate the team’s two (hopefully) potent left-handed bats. Gardenhire, though, wasn’t eager to take the step, and he wasn’t willing to have Willingham and Morneau ‘platoon’ between the two spots (batting Willingham fourth versus lefties and Morneau fourth against righties would have made tons of sense).

But if there’s some hurt feelings, hopefully Gardenhire can convince Morneau that this is less about him and more about Willingham, who has been one of the game’s hottest hitters with a .419/.514/.871 line to date. Morneau has actually been pretty good against righties so far, hitting .292. However, he’s 0-for-10 against lefties.

Latest Posts
  1. The schedule: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it

    May 29, 2015, 9:01 AM EDT

    baseball grass

    The latest radical suggestion from the baseball commentariat is like all of the others: it’s a solution in search of a problem.

  2. And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

    May 29, 2015, 7:13 AM EDT

    Corey Kluber Getty Images

    Corey Kulber’s last four starts: 3-0 with 50 strikeouts and two walks in 32 innings. Yowza.

  3. Eduardo Rodriguez dazzles in major league debut

    May 28, 2015, 11:39 PM EDT

    ARLINGTON, TX - MAY 28:  Eduardo Rodriguez #52 of the Boston Red Sox throws against the Texas Rangers in the first inning at Globe Life Park in Arlington on May 28, 2015 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Red Sox prospect left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez tossed 7 2/3 scoreless innings in his major league debut against the Rangers on Thursday.

  4. Rockies prospect David Dahl requires surgery on spleen after outfield collision

    May 28, 2015, 10:51 PM EDT

    rockies logo

    Rockies prospect David Dahl suffered a “massive laceration” in his spleen following an outfield collision Thursday and required season-ending surgery.

  5. Video: Josh Hamilton doubles in first at-bat back in Texas since returning to Rangers

    May 28, 2015, 10:03 PM EDT

    ARLINGTON, TX - MAY 28:  Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers smiles on base after hitting a double against the Boston Red Sox in the second inning at Globe Life Park in Arlington on May 28, 2015 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Hamilton got a rousing ovation from the home crowd in his return to Texas.

  6. Diamondbacks expected to call up Jarrod Saltalamacchia on Friday

    May 28, 2015, 9:05 PM EDT

    Miami Marlins v New York Mets Getty Images

    Jarrod Saltalamacchia was cut loose by the Marlins earlier this month after proving to be a disappointment in his three-year, $21 million contract, but the Diamondbacks are ready to give him a shot.

  7. MRI shows no structural damage in Scott Kazmir’s shoulder

    May 28, 2015, 8:22 PM EDT

    OAKLAND, CA - MAY 17:  Scott Kazmir #26 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago White Sox in the top of the first inning at O.co Coliseum on May 17, 2015 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Kazmir left his start yesterday against the Tigers after three innings with shoulder tightness, but it sounds like he might not have to miss much time.

  8. Masahiro Tanaka expected to rejoin Yankees next week

    May 28, 2015, 7:40 PM EDT

    WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 20: Pitcher Masahiro Tanaka #19 of the New York Yankees works out prior to the Yankees baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on May 20, 2015 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Washington Nationals/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Tanaka has been sidelined since April 23 due to a right forearm strain and right wrist tendinitis.

  9. Struggling David Ortiz will get a couple of days off to work on his swing

    May 28, 2015, 7:01 PM EDT

    <> during the sixth inning at Fenway Park on May 24, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. Getty Images

    The 39-year-old Ortiz has just one hit in his last 20 at-bats and is batting an uncharacteristic .216/.303/.377 with six home runs and 18 RBI across his first 43 games this season.

  10. Indians place Carlos Santana on paternity leave list

    May 28, 2015, 6:15 PM EDT

    carlos santana getty Getty Images

    The Indians placed Santana on the paternity leave list Thursday following the birth of his daughter.

  11. Daniel Nava goes on the disabled list with a sprained thumb

    May 28, 2015, 4:52 PM EDT

    ALCS - Detroit Tigers v Boston Red Sox - Game One Getty Images

    Nava has struggled all season, hitting just .159 with zero homers.

  12. Chris Sale dominates the Orioles

    May 28, 2015, 4:00 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Seven and two-thirds innings, 12 strikeouts and nothin’ else doin’.

  13. Pirates top-100 prospect Nick Kingham undergoes Tommy John surgery

    May 28, 2015, 12:50 PM EDT

    Nick Kingham Pirates AP

    Kingham cracked top-100 prospect lists last season and this season.

  14. Jon Jay ready to return, will add to Cardinals’ outfield logjam

    May 28, 2015, 12:16 PM EDT

    jon jay getty Getty Images

    Jay has been out since May 10 with a wrist injury.

  15. The Big Unit: Wide Angle Watcher

    May 28, 2015, 11:53 AM EDT

    Rush

    I don’t do requests and even if I did, I would’t do Rush requests. But you all have broken me down.

  16. Grant Balfour is leaning toward retirement

    May 28, 2015, 10:30 AM EDT

    Grant Balfour Getty Images

    He just opted out of his deal with Tampa Bay.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. J. Hamilton (3660)
  2. D. Wright (2984)
  3. J. Lucroy (2822)
  4. A. Garcia (2738)
  5. Y. Puig (2723)
  1. R. Castillo (2708)
  2. J. Cueto (2693)
  3. M. Adams (2561)
  4. P. Fielder (2389)
  5. B. Harper (2360)