Justin Morneau officially ruled out for ALDS

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Twins manager Ron Gardenhire made it official just a short while ago, confirming that Justin Morneau will not be included on the ALDS roster, according to Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

“He hasn’t hit live, he hasn’t dove for a ball, he hasn’t done anything
like that. If you want a formal, ‘No he won’t be on the playoff roster
for the first round,’ there’s your formal. No, he won’t.”

Not a surprising revelation, as Morneau basically said the same thing after taking batting practice Thursday. Still, he continues to make progress from a concussion that has sidelined him since July 7. Morneau worked out again this afternoon, taking some swings and fielding groundballs. Barring any setbacks, the next step would be for him to face live pitching.

“We’ll have to make that decision within whatever, the next few days,”
Gardenhire said. “He’d have to go to Florida to do that. That’s down the
road a few days here. He’s doing good.”

Gardenhire wouldn’t speculate on his status for the rest of the playoffs, but Morneau told Mackey earlier this week that he hopes to return if the Twins are able to reach the ALCS. The Twins obviously won’t count on him, hence Gardenhire’s guarded optimism here, but that the possibility is even being discussed is a very encouraging sign.

Former major league pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez dies in traffic accident

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Former Phillies right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez died in a traffic accident in Havana on Thursday, per reports from the El Nuevo Herald and CiberCuba. No other deaths or injuries have been reported in connection to the accident. Gonzalez was 34 years old.

The Cuban righty defected from his home country in 2013 and signed a three-year, $12 million contract with the Phillies. A bout of right shoulder tendinitis compromised his bid for a major league role, but he finally broke through to the big leagues at the tail end of the 2014 season and turned in a 6.75 ERA, 5.1 BB/9 and 8.4 SO/9 in just six outings. Another case of shoulder inflammation derailed any progress he might have made in 2015, however, and he recorded just five innings in Triple-A Lehigh Valley before the team officially released him prior to the 2016 season.

The Phillies released a statement following news of Gonzalez’s death: