Justin Morneau to undergo neck surgery, expected to miss six weeks

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Justin Morneau just can’t catch a break.

After sitting out nine months following a concussion last July he returned to the Twins’ lineup to hit just .225 with four homers and a .619 OPS in 55 games before being placed on the disabled list with a wrist injury last week.

And now Jim Souhan of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that Morneau “will undergo surgery to alleviate neck pain” and is expected to miss “about six weeks.”

Morneau complained about neck pain as far back as the middle of spring training and revealed a few weeks ago that he was playing through a pinched nerve, but Twins trainer Rick McWane told Souhan that the injury is not related to last year’s concussion

Minnesota’s season has been wrecked by injuries to nearly every key contributor and now Morneau joins Joe Mauer, Tsuyoshi Nishioka, and Jason Kubel in missing significantly more time than initially expected.  And in this case the official reason for Morneau being placed on the DL wasn’t even his neck. What a mess.

Giants hire Gabe Kapler as new manager

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The Giants announced on Tuesday the hiring of Gabe Kapler as manager. Kapler, filling the extremely large shoes of future Hall of Famer Bruce Bochy, inked a three-year deal, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area reports. Kapler was one of three finalists for the job, beating out Astros bench coach Joe Espada and Rays bench coach Matt Quataro.

Following his 12-year playing career, Kapler was a coach for Israel’s team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic qualifier. He then became an analyst for FS1 before joining the Dodgers’ front office as the director of player development in November 2014. He was involved in three scandals there: one in which he tried to handle a sexual assault incident involving two Dodgers minor league players without telling police, one in which he allegedly discriminated against Nick Francona, a veteran and former baseball operations employee, and an incident that implicated most of the Dodgers’ front office concerning the recruiting of international free agents. The Dodgers reportedly kept a spreadsheet of employees and their level of criminality.

Despite Kapler’s background, the Phillies hired him as their manager ahead of the 2018 season. He would lead the Phillies to an 80-82 record that year and then helped them improve by one game in 2019, finishing at exactly .500 before being fired. Kapler’s tenure in Philly was tumultuous, often drawing ire from the local media and subsequently the fan base for not being tough enough on his players. The Phillies also reportedly had a clubhouse issue in 2018 in which players were playing video games in the clubhouse during games, prompting Carlos Santana to smash a TV with a bat.

Kapler has a history with Farhan Zaidi, the Giants’ president of baseball operations. They worked together in the Dodgers’ front office as Zaidi served as GM from November 2014-18.