Nearly 14 months after taking a knee to the head while trying to break up a double play against the Blue Jays, Justin Morneau continues to suffer the aftereffects of a concussion. He’s out of Minnesota’s lineup tonight with what the team is calling “mild concussion symptoms.”
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Joe Christensen reports that Morneau started developing a headache Monday and that the Twins have had him take baseline tests.
With the Twins 56-78 and 17 games back in the AL Central, there certainly won’t be any fooling around with Morneau’s condition. It’s been a pretty miserable year for him anyway: he was limited by neck and wrist injuries early on and he surgery at the end of June to remove a fragment of a herniated disk from his wrist. The new concussion symptoms might be related to an incident Sunday when he drove after a ball and jammed his shoulder.
So, barring a very quick recovery, the Twins might be best off just shutting Morneau down for the year. It’s been a lost campaign for him anyway. He’s hit .227/.285/.333 with four homers and 30 RBI in 264 at-bats.
You hear a lot about pitchers tipping pitches. It’s often offered up post-facto as an excuse for poor performance by the pitcher himself or his own team. It’s sort of like the “best shape of my life” thing being offered in the offseason to talk about why the player got injured or played badly the previous year. “Smitty’s stuff is still great, he was just tipping his pitches,” said a source close to the player whose stuff is not really great anymore.
Which isn’t to say that pitchers don’t tip pitches. Of course they do. Opposing teams look for it, pick up on it and take advantage of it whenever they can. It’s just that (a) the opposing team has an interest in not talking about it, lest the pitcher STOP tipping its pitches; and (b) the guy actually tipping his pitches doesn’t want to talk specifically about it lest he starts doing it again.
Which is what makes this article at Sports Illustrated so interesting. In it Tom Verducci talks to an anonymous Houston Astros player who explains how Dodgers starter Yu Darvish was tipping his pitches during the World Series, leading to him getting absolutely shellacked in Games 3 and 7. The upshot: the Astros knew when a slider or a cutter was coming, they waited for it and they teed off.
Darvish is a free agent now. I’m guessing, whoever signs him, knows exactly what they’ll gave him work on the first day of spring training.