Justin Morneau to start swinging a bat the first of February

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The characterization of Justin Morneau’s status hasn’t changed:  a couple of weeks ago Bill Smith said the team as “optimistic” about him, and yesterday he said the same thing.  But there is reason to be a little more optimistic today than we were before, because Smith now says that Morneau should be swinging a bat by the first of February.

Maybe I’m just reading too much into this, but earlier assessments had the optimism being about going to work by the time spring training rolls around. If he’s swinging a bat two weeks before pitchers and catchers report, however, perhaps he’ll he’ll be at or near full speed by then as opposed to merely present and accounted for.

This might just be splitting hairs, but there are few teams with as unsettled a situation with an important piece as the Twins are with Morneau, so a little word-parsing is justified.

 

The Phillies signed Danny Espinosa to a minor league deal

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Scott Lauber of the Philly Inquirer reports that the Phillies have agreed to terms with infielder Danny Espinosa. He’ll report to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

This will be Espinosa’s fourth organization this year, as he has spent time under contract with the Yankees, Blue Jays and Dodgers in 2018, being released by all three teams after a few weeks. He last appeared in the big leagues in 2017, hitting a mere .173/.245/.278 in 93 games for the Angels, Mariners and Rays. He hit 20 homers a couple of times way back in the day, though, and I guess that — and the humility to accept minor league assignments — will earn you shots if you’re a good guy and you’re in decent shape.