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.
Mets’ left-hander Steven Matz will miss his Grapefruit League appearance on Monday after experiencing soreness in his left elbow, according to a report by Mike Puma of the New York Post. Matz reportedly first felt discomfort in his elbow on Wednesday after pitching four innings against the Marlins, but a medical evaluation revealed no structural damage.
Still, it’s unsettling news for the 25-year-old, who is coming off of an injury-riddled 2016 season. Matz pitched to a 3.40 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 8.8 SO/9 during his sophomore campaign with the Mets, but his success was hampered by a bevy of shoulder and elbow issues that culminated in season-ending surgery to remove bone spurs from his left elbow.
Comments from Mets’ GM Sandy Alderson indicated that while the club doesn’t believe anything is significantly wrong with Matz’s elbow this time around, the setback could have an impact on his chances of cracking the Opening Day roster. Until he’s cleared to return to the mound, the club is expected to take a longer look at rotation candidates Robert Gsellman, Zack Wheeler and Seth Lugo.
Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.
Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).
Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.