Finally, some promising news on Justin Morneau.
According to Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the 30-year-old first baseman has been participating in strenuous workouts for over a month at a training facility in Phoenix and has not experienced a concussion-related symptom yet.
There’s still some concern that Morneau’s head issues will resurface when spring training opens and he’s exposed to the heat and sunlight of a typical March in Fort Myers, Florida. But, so far so good.
“I wouldn’t say the head’s perfect yet,” Morneau told the Star-Tribune. “I’m not going to declare that until I go through fielding ground balls, playing catch, taking batting practice, doing all the baseball stuff. But what I was able to do today is miles ahead of where I was at this time last year.”
Morneau batted just .227/.285/.333 with four home runs and 30 RBI across 288 plate appearances last year and has played in only 150 games over the past two seasons. The native of British Columbia was the American League’s Most Valuable Player in 2006 and was a .282/.352/.505 hitter between ’04 and ’09.
Cubs infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with back soreness. The move is retroactive to April 14. While it doesn’t appear to be the precursor to any serious injury, Zobrist has already missed six straight days of activity after feeling his back tighten up last weekend. Should he see the minimum time on the DL, as expected, he’ll be eligible to return by the start of the Cubs’ series against the Indians on Tuesday.
Prior to his injury, the 36-year-old outfielder raked an impressive .326/.408/.465 with three extra-base hits in 49 plate appearances. He last appeared for the Cubs during their homestand last weekend and helped propel the team to a 14-10 win over the Braves with three hits, two walks and two RBI. Provided that he can remain healthy going forward, it’s a promising start for the veteran outfielder, who has yet to return to the All-Star-worthy numbers he posted with the club in 2016.
With Zobrist sidelined for the time being, Ian Happ and Albert Almora Jr. have shared the leadoff spot and center field duties over the last week. Happ went 0-for-8 with six strikeouts in two games before passing the baton to Almora, who collected five hits and two RBI in 11 at-bats.