Justin Morneau remains hopeful of playing again this season after having his concussion symptoms return, but if he can, he’ll only be utilized as a designated hitter, manager Ron Gardenhire said Monday.
Morneau started experiencing headaches and other symptoms after diving for a grounder on Aug. 28.
“He said he’s doing better but isn’t ready to play baseball,” Gardenhire said. “But when he does, he’ll come back, and we’re pretty much going to DH [him] for the rest of the season. We don’t want to play him in the field to keep him from diving around and not banging himself up.”
Obviously, it’s just a one-month move for now. But if Morneau isn’t completely recovered next year, one wonders if the Twins might try plugging him into the DH spot permanently. Then again, considering that his concussion symptoms have been an issue for 15 months now, his entire future is up in the air.
Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.
The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.
That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.