The Star-Tribune reports that Justin Morneau said that the team’s hitters “are very disappointed with the organization’s decision not to move in the fences at Target Field for next season.” In an email to the paper he said:
“Right-center to left-center is ridiculous. [It’s] almost impossible for a righthanded hitter to [homer to the] opposite field and very difficult for lefties. It affects the hitters a lot, and you start to develop bad habits as a hitter when you feel like you can only pull the ball to hit it over the fence. You take those habits on the road.”
Yes, it’s hard to hit homers in Target Field. Morneau himself hit 18 home runs in his truncated season, but 14 of them were on the road. He was definitely feeling the pain. But it’s worth noting that the Twins played fantastically at home this year, going 53-28. It’s also worth noting that it’s a bad move to make decisions about fences and ballpark dimensions after a single season. People used to think Philly was a bandbox, but that changed and it now plays pretty straight up. New Yankee Stadium still has a short porch in right, but it was way less of a factor in 2010 than it was in 2009. You gotta give a park time.
But even if Target Field does continue to be a tough home run park, it’s tough for everyone, isn’t it? And it certainly helped the Twins win. Isn’t that the most important thing?
The Cubs had a scare on Wednesday night when third baseman Kris Bryant left with an apparent ankle injury. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Nationals catcher Matt Wieters hit a pop up that veered just into foul territory near the third base bag. Bryant caught it but his momentum took him back into fair territory. In doing so, he stepped awkwardly on the third base bag and appeared to twist his ankle. Bryant needed the assistance of manager Joe Maddon and the team trainer to get off the field.
Bryant was diagnosed with a mild ankle sprain, CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports.
Bryant was 2-for-3 on the night before departing and being replaced by Jeimer Candelario. He’s now hitting .264/.395/.520 with 16 home runs and 32 RBI in 329 plate appearances. Needless to say, the 39-39 Cubs would see their playoff odds hurt immensely if Bryant were to miss a significant amount of time.
Hector Gomez reports Twins third baseman Miguel Sano will participate in the 2017 Home Run Derby, to be held in two weeks at Marlins Park in Miami. So far, Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton is the only other confirmed participant.
Sano, 24, is having an outstanding season, batting .274/.375/.548 with 18 home runs and 53 RBI in 293 plate appearances. According to MLB’s Statcast, only Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge (96.7 MPH) has a higher average exit velocity than Sano (96.4 MPH).
Brian Dozier was the last member of the Twins to participate in the Home Run Derby. In 2014 at Target Field, Dozier failed to make it into the second round after hitting only two home runs. Justin Morneau is the only Twin to have ever won the Home Run Derby, as he beat Josh Hamilton 5-3 in the finals of the 2008 Derby at Yankee Stadium — although Hamilton out-homered him in total 35 to 22.