The hope was that Justin Morneau would be able to join the team in Chicago on Monday in order to participate in batting practice on Tuesday and Wednesday. No dice, apparently.
While refusing to call it a setback, Twins general manager Bill Smith told Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that there was a change in plans.
“He’s made good progress the last week,” Smith said. “Chicago was a
possibility, just like Cleveland was a possibility [this past weekend],
depending on how things went last week. But Justin’s very comfortable
with the facilities at Target Field, so he’s going to continue doing his
Morneau was given the day off Monday, but is expected to resume his workouts at Target Field on Tuesday. There was some chatter over the weekend about a possible minor league rehab
assignment later this week — and that could still very well happen — but Smith cautioned that due to the nature
of the injury, they have to be “careful about the forecasts.”
Morneau hasn’t played since suffering a concussion from a knee to the head by Toronto’s John McDonald on July 7. Continuing to ride the wave of outstanding seasons from Carl Pavano and Delmon Young, the Twins are 18-10 since that day and have picked up a game in the standings. They currently sit just a half-game behind the White Sox in the American League Central and could pull dead even if the ChiSox lose to the suddenly-hot Orioles tonight.
With Game 6 of the NLCS just hours away, the Dodgers will opt for a lefty-heavy lineup against right-hander Kyle Hendricks. Batting leadoff is rookie outfielder Andrew Toles, who made one appearance at the top of the lineup during the 2016 season. The Cubs, meanwhile, will bench Jason Heyward in favor of Albert Almora Jr.. This will be Almora’s first start of the playoffs, and while he has yet to face Kershaw in October, his right-handed bat could play well against the lefty at the bottom of the lineup.
Game time is scheduled for 8 PM EDT; lineups are below.
1. Andrew Toles (L) LF
6. Wilson Contreras (R) C
8. Albert Almora Jr. (R) RF
9. Kyle Hendricks (R) RHP
UPDATE, 5:08 PM EDT: Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon will not rule out a World Series appearance for Kyle Schwarber if the Cubs advance. MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports that Schwarber could play through a simulated game on Sunday, during which the Cubs’ medical and baseball staff would evaluate his chances for a late season return. If he does play, it will likely be in a pinch-hitting or DH role and not on the field.
Cubs’ outfielder Kyle Schwarber will return to the playing field on Saturday, per a report by the Chicago Tribune’s Mark Gonzales. The club’s prized left fielder suffered a season-ending injury when he collided with Dexter Fowler back in April, tearing both his ACL and LCL and undergoing intensive knee surgery later that month.
While no nerve damage was discovered during the surgery, the Cubs have kept a close eye on Schwarber during his recovery and put a kibosh on any part-time or full-time role with the team until the spring of 2017. Getting a few reps in during the Arizona Fall League appears to be the last step in the 23-year-old’s rehab process. He will be part of the Mesa Solar Sox’ ‘taxi squad,’ making him eligible for games on Wednesdays and Saturdays only.
Schwarber batted .246/.355/.487 with 16 in 69 games with the Cubs during his debut season in 2015. He will be added to the Mesa Solar Sox roster in advance of their set against the Salt River Rafters on Saturday evening.