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.

Jonny Venters is still pitching

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Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.

When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.

Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.