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. Rockies take John Axford out of the closer’s role

    Jul 31, 2015, 11:55 PM EDT

    John Axford John Axford

    John Axford has allowed runs in five consecutive appearances, blowing four saves. He’s out as the Rockies’ closer for now.

  2. There IS crying in baseball. Wilmer Flores hit a walk-off home run!

    Jul 31, 2015, 11:27 PM EDT

    cD05ODdlNmNhY2MwMjRlZWQzNTJ Getty Images

    Wilmer Flores: your feel-good story of the year.

  3. The Orioles designated Bud Norris for assignment

    Jul 31, 2015, 11:20 PM EDT

    Bud Norris Bud Norris

    The Orioles designated struggling Orioles pitcher Bud Norris for assignment to make room for new outfielder Gerardo Parra on Friday.

  4. Mark Melancon owes Starling Marte a nice steak dinner

    Jul 31, 2015, 10:52 PM EDT

    Starling Marte Starling Marte

    Starling Marte’s defense prevented Mark Melancon from blowing a save and potentially taking a loss.

  5. Angels place C.J. Wilson on the disabled list with elbow inflammation

    Jul 31, 2015, 10:35 PM EDT

    C.J. Wilson Getty Images

    The Angels lose C.J. Wilson to an injury but are expected to get Jered Weaver back.

  6. The benches cleared in Friday’s Giants-Rangers game

    Jul 31, 2015, 9:53 PM EDT

    Madison Bumgarner Madison Bumgarner

    Madison Bumgarner was upset Delino DeShields was upset.

  7. Giants place Tim Hudson on the disabled list with a shoulder strain

    Jul 31, 2015, 9:35 PM EDT

    Tim Hudson Getty Images

    The Giants placed Tim Hudson on the disabled list, which created room on the roster for incoming pitcher Mike Leake.

  8. Pirates place A.J. Burnett on the disabled list with elbow inflammation

    Jul 31, 2015, 8:55 PM EDT

    A.J. Burnett A.J. Burnett

    A.J. Burnett hits the DL with an elbow issue. Recently-acquired pitcher J.A. Happ will take his spot in the rotation.

  9. Report: Padres asked Diamondbacks for Paul Goldschmidt in a Craig Kimbrel trade

    Jul 31, 2015, 8:28 PM EDT

    Paul Goldschmidt Paul Goldschmidt

    Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart laughed when he recalled the Padres asking for Paul Goldschmidt in return in a potential trade involving Craig Kimbrel.

  10. Video: Kendrys Morales avoids tag at the plate with a nifty slide

    Jul 31, 2015, 7:49 PM EDT

    Kendrys Morales Kendrys Morales

    Kendrys Morales is more nimble than we give him credit for being.

  11. Yankees prospect Luis Severino’s next start will be his major league debut

    Jul 31, 2015, 7:20 PM EDT

    Luis Severino Getty Images

    Yankees pitching prospect Luis Severino will make his major league debut within the next week.

  12. Clayton Kershaw scratched from Friday’s start against the Angels

    Jul 31, 2015, 6:14 PM EDT

    Clayton Kershaw Clayton Kershaw

    Clayton Kershaw has been scratched from a start yet again due to a hip problem.

  13. The Winners and Losers at the Trade Deadline

    Jul 31, 2015, 5:37 PM EDT

    Cole Hamels Getty Images

    Yes, I realize it’s silly to do this an hour after the trade deadline, as time is required to see how this stuff truly shakes out. But what is the Internet for if not kneejerk reactions?

  14. Pirates acquire left-hander J.A. Happ from Mariners

    Jul 31, 2015, 4:33 PM EDT

    J.A. Happ AP

    J.A. Happ and Joe Blanton, reunited.

  15. Pirates pick up Michael Morse from the Dodgers for Jose Tabata

    Jul 31, 2015, 4:30 PM EDT

    Michael Morse Marlins Getty Images

    He was DFA’d by the Dodgers as soon as they got him but he may platoon at 1B for Pittsburgh.

  16. So, the Padres sure did a whole lot of nothin’, eh?

    Jul 31, 2015, 4:20 PM EDT

    San Diego Padres Logo

    People thought they’d make four or five trades. They ended up doing nothing.

  17. 2015 MLB Trade Deadline Tracker

    Jul 31, 2015, 4:15 PM EDT

    Detroit Tigers v Seattle Mariners Detroit Tigers v Seattle Mariners

    We’re recapping all of the deals as they come down.

  18. Report: Yoenis Cespedes heading to the New York Mets

    Jul 31, 2015, 3:59 PM EDT

    cespedes getty Getty Images

    The Mets add a big bat to their anemic offense. And they don’t have to part with Zack Wheeler to do it.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. C. Hamels (5454)
  2. C. Gomez (5037)
  3. T. Tulowitzki (4202)
  4. M. Trout (3904)
  5. J. Cueto (3883)
  1. D. Price (3468)
  2. A. Rodriguez (3428)
  3. Y. Cespedes (3323)
  4. T. Clippard (3219)
  5. J. Bruce (3198)