Ron Gardenhire on Justin Morneau returning this season: "I don't see how it can possibly happen"

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Justin Morneau hasn’t played since suffering a concussion from a knee to the helmet on July 7 and this afternoon manager Ron Gardenhire finally admitted that the Twins don’t expect him back in the lineup this season.
Appearing on 1500-ESPN with hosts Patrick Reusse and Phil Mackey, Gardenhire replied “I don’t see how it can possibly happen for him” when asked about Morneau returning for the end of the regular season or even the playoffs.
He also added “I hope I’m wrong” but given the lack of progress Morneau has made while sitting out the past three months his return has been viewed as a longshot for quite a while now.
Minnesota has thrived since Morneau went down, going 47-21 for the best record in the American League, which is amazing given that Morneau was hitting .345/.437/.618 and ranked second among AL hitters in OPS at the time of the concussion.
Adding his bat to a lineup that ranks fourth in the league in scoring would obviously be a huge boost and even having Morneau available as a bat off the bench would’ve been plenty useful in the playoffs, but unfortunately it sounds like that won’t happen. Morneau is another sad reminder of how unpredictable and scary concussions can be, and at this point there have to be serious questions about his status for 2011 and beyond.

Nationals Acquire Ryan Raburn From White Sox

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The Washington Nationals have acquired outfielder Ryan Raburn from the Chicago White Sox. Raburn had been playing at Triple-A Charlotte. He’ll be assigned to Triple-A Syracuse in the Nats organization. The Nationals will send cash or a player to be named later to the White Sox to complete the deal.

Raburn has yet to play in the majors this season. Last year he hit .220/.309/.404 with nine homers in 113 games for the Colorado Rockies. The year before that he hit an excellent .301/.393/.543 in part time play for the Indians. Over the course of his 11 year career the 36-year-old has hit .253/.317/.436, which breaks down to an OPS+ of exactly 100, which is league average. Primarily an outfielder, Raburn has played every position except shortstop and catcher in his career. He’s even pitched twice.

The Nats plans for him aren’t entirely clear, but depth it depth.

If the Tigers are sub-.500 at the end of June it’ll be fire sale time

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Jon Morosi reports that that the Detroit Tigers will make all veterans available via trade if they’re still under .500 by the end of June.

This was the position they entered the offseason with — everyone is available! — but they ended up gearing up for one more push with the core of veterans they currently employ. It was not a bad move, I don’t think. With the exception of the Indians, the AL Central is mostly down, or at least appeared to be over the winter, with the Royals in decline and the Twins and White Sox seemingly a few years away from contention. The Twins, however, have been fantastic and the Tigers have mostly underachieved.

So we’re back to this. Which veterans the Tigers can reasonably unload, however, is an open question. J.D. Martinez is in his walk year, so while tradable, he may not bring back a big return. Guys like Justin Upton, Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera either have very large contracts or no-trade protection.

The end of June is still a while from now, of course, and while the Tigers are under .500, they’re only 4.5 games behind the Twins. But they had better turn it around or else it sounds like the front office is going to turn the page.