Justin Morneau to start swinging a bat the first of February

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The characterization of Justin Morneau’s status hasn’t changed:  a couple of weeks ago Bill Smith said the team as “optimistic” about him, and yesterday he said the same thing.  But there is reason to be a little more optimistic today than we were before, because Smith now says that Morneau should be swinging a bat by the first of February.

Maybe I’m just reading too much into this, but earlier assessments had the optimism being about going to work by the time spring training rolls around. If he’s swinging a bat two weeks before pitchers and catchers report, however, perhaps he’ll he’ll be at or near full speed by then as opposed to merely present and accounted for.

This might just be splitting hairs, but there are few teams with as unsettled a situation with an important piece as the Twins are with Morneau, so a little word-parsing is justified.

 

The Mariners turned an odd triple play with the help of Evan Gattis

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Astros DH Evan Gattis unwittingly helped the Mariners complete a triple play in the fourth inning of Thursday afternoon’s game at Safeco Field. The Astros put runners on first and second on consecutive singles by Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa, bringing Gattis to the plate.

Gattis check-swung at a first-pitch curve from Marco Gonzales, hitting a grounder to third base. Kyle Seager stepped on the third base bag and then threw to second base for the second out. There was not nearly enough time for Robinson Cano to get the throw to first base to complete a triple play. Gattis ostensibly lost track of the number of outs in the inning, so he just circled back to the dugout and the Mariners completed their triple play since Gattis went out of the baseline.

That’s the first triple play of the 2018 season. It’s the Mariners’ first triple play since July 26, 2015 against the Blue Jays.