Justin Morneau, whose career has repeatedly been derailed by concussions, is off the disabled list and back in the Rockies’ lineup after being sidelined since mid-May by another brain injury.
Morneau is at the point now where any further concussion-related problems could force him into retirement, but the former MVP is batting fifth and starting at first base tonight against the Giants.
Morneau is a 34-year-old impending free agent and played just 27 games for the Rockies before being shut down in May, but he won the batting title last season by hitting .319 with 17 homers and an .860 OPS for his best season since 2010 with the Twins.
He’s absolutely someone to root for, but Morneau coming back from brain injuries gets scarier and scarier each time and in this case the symptoms lingered for months.
Rockies first baseman Justin Morneau hasn’t played since May 13 due to concussion symptoms and a cervical neck strain, but he still intends on returning this season.
According to Thomas Harding of MLB.com, Morneau began a minor league rehab assignment on Friday with Double-A New Britain and went 1-for-2 with a single. He’ll remain in the minors for a few more days before being re-evaluated next Thursday. The Rockies have nothing to play for right now, but Morneau could get some peace of mind going into the winter. His contract carries a $9 million mutual option for 2016.
Morneau’s career veered off track with the Twins due to concussion issues, but he bounced back after joining the Rockies last season by winning the National League batting crown. The 34-year-old was batting .290 with three home runs and a .767 OPS over his first 27 games this season prior to the injury.
Nick Groke of The Denver Post reports that the Rockies have transferred first baseman Justin Morneau to the 60-day disabled list. The freed-up roster spot allowed them to claim reliever Gonzalez Germen off waivers from the Cubs. They then optioned Germen to Triple-A Albuquerque.
Morneau, 34, hasn’t played since May 13 due to concussion symptoms. The move seems to indicate that the Rockies don’t expect Morneau to return anytime soon. He was hitting .290/.317/.450 with three home runs and nine RBI prior to hitting the disabled list.
Germen, 27, made only six appearances at the major league level for the Cubs this season, allowing five runs on eight hits and five walks with eight strikeouts in six innings.
Rockies first baseman Justin Morneau continues to experience post-concussion symptoms four weeks after suffering a brain injury and cervical neck sprain on a diving play and has not been cleared to resume baseball activities.
Morneau has a history of concussions, which derailed his career for several seasons in Minnesota. He got back on track with the Rockies last season, hitting .319 to win the batting title, but now the former MVP’s career is again in jeopardy at age 34.
Rockies manager Walt Weiss told Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post that the team plans to be very cautious and patience with Morneau’s recovery timetable, saying:
It’s difficult for Justin, given his history with concussions. This is a process and we have to wait it out. When Justin is ready to play and he’s himself again, he’s our first baseman.
What a shame.