Justin Morneau doubtful to be activated from DL on Friday

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Justin Morneau is doubtful to join the Twins on their upcoming road trip in Baltimore and Kansas City, according to La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. The Minnesota first baseman is currently on the disabled list with a concussion and hasn’t played since taking a knee to his head while trying to break up a double play on July 7.

According to Kelly Thesier of MLB.com, Morneau is scheduled to see another head and concussion specialist on Tuesday. He is eligible to return from the disabled list on Friday, but Twins manager Ron Gardenhire cautioned that there’s still no timetable for his return.

“You talk to him, he’s groggy and he can’t do anything about it,”
Gardenhire said. “How long it’s going to last, nobody knows. The doctors
can only guess, too, with this stuff. It’s all on how the player
feels. When the symptoms leave, he can get back to baseball activity.

Concerned? Absolutely,” Gardenhire said. “I’m concerned that he gets
healthy before we even think about anything else. The big thing right
now is with him just getting healthy and them telling us, ‘OK, he’s
ready to go.’ And no one is even close to doing that right now it sounds
like.”

Morneau is batting .345/.437/.618 with 18 home runs, 56 RBI and a major-league leading 1.055 OPS in 296 at-bats this season. Michael Cuddyer, who has swung a pretty hot bat of late, will continue to fill in at first base during his absence.

The Twins open Monday’s action tied with the Tigers for second place in the American League Central, 1 1/2 games behind the White Sox.

Giants remove pitching coach Dave Righetti

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After 18 years, 12 winning seasons, seven postseason runs and three World Championships, Dave Righetti is no longer a pitching coach for the Giants. He was removed from his post on Saturday, when the team announced a few reassignments as they shake up their coaching staff. Heading into the 2018 season, Righetti will serve as special assistant to general manager Bobby Evans, former bullpen coach Mark Gardner will step into a similar special assistant role to “assist in pitching evaluations,” and former assistant hitting coach Steve Decker will take a special assistant role in baseball operations.

According to MLB.com’s Chris Haft, Righetti was the longest-tenured pitching coach in the big leagues. He helped shape the careers of notable Giants’ aces like Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain — all Cy Young contenders (and, in Lincecum’s case, a two-time winner) at various points in their careers. He was there to assist Ryan Vogelsong during his stunning mid-career comeback in San Francisco. He helped newcomers like Chris Stratton and Ty Blach flourish even as the team stumbled to the bottom of the division. He was there to take the credit when a sterling rotation clinched the Giants’ 56-year, drought-snapping championship title in 2010 — and, when things went so horribly south in 2017, he took the blame as well.

Hardly anything went right for the Giants’ pitching staff in 2017. Madison Bumgarner was shelved after sustaining a serious shoulder injury in a dirt bike accident, Johnny Cueto couldn’t shake a cluster of blisters on his right hand and Mark Melancon found it difficult to justify a $62 million paycheck after pitching through an arm injury to four blown losses/saves and a 4.50 ERA. It would be a lot for any pitching coach to stay on top of, and given the team’s rapid descent from 2016 postseason contenders to last-place finishers in 2017, it’s not surprising that Evans felt the need to switch things up.

Successors have yet to be named for Righetti, Gardner or Decker, though Murray hears that the Giants could have interest in former major league pitching coach Jim Hickey. NBC Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic adds that Evans is searching for someone to “put a new voice” on the pitching staff and will likely target someone who, like Righetti, brings considerable experience to the role.