Twins expecting to get Justin Morneau back on Friday

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Good news, Twins fans.

According to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com, first baseman Justin Morneau is scheduled to return from the disabled list Friday in Cleveland.

Morneau has been sidelined since undergoing surgery on his neck in late June. The 30-year-old native of Canada is batting just .225 this season with a .619 OPS, four home runs and 21 RBI in 231 plate appearances, but he’s been hitting the ball well on his minor league rehab assignment and is certainly capable of catching fire down the stretch.

The Twins are currently 10 1/2 games back of the Tigers in the American League Central standings. Morneau is owed $14 million in 2012 and another $14 million in 2013. He’ll be a free agent after that.

Reds ink Oliver Perez to a minor-league deal

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The Reds have signed free agent reliever Oliver Perez to a minor-league contract, the team announced Saturday. The deal comes with a major-league invite and could be worth $1.25 million if Perez secures a roster spot this spring, with an additional $500,000 in potential performance bonuses.

Perez, 36, is coming off of a two-year run with the Nationals. He produced a 4.64 ERA, 3.3 BB/9 an d10.6 SO/9 through 50 relief appearances and 33 innings with the club in 2017. The veteran lefty hasn’t kept an ERA under 4.00 in at least four seasons, but he continues to be undeniably solid against left-handed batters, holding them to a .227/.301/.364 batting line over 18 1/3 innings last year.

While returning southpaw Wandy Peralta appears to have locked down a bullpen spot already, Perez will still compete for another role against fellow left-handers Cody Reed and Amir Garrett, both of whom also have experience in the rotation. If Perez doesn’t break camp with the team, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon notes, he’ll be permitted to opt out of his contract. The Reds are currently looking to bounce back from a dismal performance in 2017, one in which their bullpen ranked 28th among major league teams with a collective 5.63 ERA and -1.2 fWAR.