UPDATE: Joe Christensen confirms that Justin Morneau will miss the All-Star Game. He was recommended to rest after meeting with head and concussion specialist Dr. Kenneth Podell on Saturday. Morneau will be re-evaluated in Minnesota during the break.
3:05 PM: Justin Morneau is out of the starting lineup for a third straight day Saturday due to a concussion, according to Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Christensen just tweeted that Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said it is “unlikely” that Morneau will play at all this weekend. In turn, Morneau said that if he can’t play this weekend, he won’t participate in the All-Star Game. Pretty easy to read the tea leaves there.
It’s not like the National League gains some sort of advantage if Morneau is unable to play. They’ll just have to face Miguel Cabrera, instead. Some drop-off.
As Aaron mentioned on Friday, “Final Vote” runner-up Kevin Youkilis would make the most sense to replace Morneau on the AL roster. Yankees manager Joe Girardi will ultimately make that call, if it comes to it, according to Kelly Thesier of MLB.com.
MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosh reports that the Cardinals are shutting down pitcher Carlos Martínez from throwing for two weeks because his shoulder strength isn’t where it should have been at this point. Langosch added that an MRI showed no structural damage in Martínez’s right shoulder.
Interestingly, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak didn’t sound too happy with Martínez offseason training regimen. Per Mark Saxon of The Athletic, Mozeliak said, “Obviously, there’s a history with Carlos’ shoulder and it would be probably in everybody’s best interest if he maintained a constant or perpetual approach to that program.”
Martínez, 27, battled oblique and shoulder injuries last year. He accrued just 118 2/3 innings, making just 18 starts. He was moved to the bullpen when he returned from the disabled list in August and finished out the season in that role. Still, Martínez managed a 3.11 ERA with 117 strikeouts and 60 walks.
Langosch reported last week that the Cardinals were considering using Martínez in relief again in 2019. The latest news may push the Cardinals to indeed use Martínez out of the bullpen once again. He will be reevaluated in early March, but there is a chance he won’t be ready for Opening Day.