Justin Morneau takes outdoor batting practice for the first time

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Justin Morneau took outdoor batting practice against live pitching today for the first time, which is a big step as he continues what is now an eight month-long recovery from a concussion suffered on July 7.

Phil Mackey of 1500ESPN.com reports that Morneau took 40 swings, “hit five balls over the fence, and kept a light mood, joking with teammates and coaches.”

Morneau also fielded ground balls at first base and participated in double play drills, the movements for which have triggered the post-concussion symptoms in the past. He’ll wear sunglasses for all workouts to avoid any sun-fueled triggers.

At this point the Twins have indicated that Morneau probably won’t play during the first two weeks of the exhibition schedule, so he still has plenty of hurdles to clear before being in the Opening Day lineup is likely.

Eric Hinske joins Angels as a hitting coach

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The Angels announced on Monday that Eric Hinske has joined the team to serve as the new hitting coach. Hinske had been the hitting coach for the Cubs since 2014.

Hinske, 40, spent parts of 12 years in the majors, though he never played for the Angels (or the Cubs). He put up a .762 OPS over his career.

Dave Hansen had been the Angels hitting coach since the end of the 2015 season but the Angels decided to part ways with him heading into 2018.