Justin Morneau will be cleared to throw in a week

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The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that Justin Morneau would be cleared for baseball activities like throwing, hitting, spitting and thinking about hunting in the offseason, in about a week. From there it’s to a rehab assignment, though it would be optimistic to see him back playing before mid-August. Still, after the last year or two, anything other than “Morneau was killed in a combine accident” would have to qualify as positive news.

Still, given the less-than-spectacular nature of everyone in the AL Central, that may not be too late to make a difference for the Twins this season.  I’m still bearish on their chances, but not everyone is. The return of Morneau would be pretty key for them.

Ian Kinsler signs a two-year deal with the Padres

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Ken Rosenthal reports that Ian Kinsler is signing with the San Diego Padres on a two-year, $8 million deal.

A surprising multi-year deal for Kinsler, who will turn 37 next season, but it’s a pretty low financial outlay for the Padres. An understandably low one following a year in which Kinsler hit just .240/.301/.380 with 14 home runs and 16 stolen bases for the Angels and Red Sox. He can still pick it at the keystone, however, taking home Gold Glove honors there last season. He’ll turn 37 next June.

Kinsler will likely bump Luis Urias from second to short until top prospect Fernando Tatis, Jr. is called up to San Diego, at which point one presumes Urias will then, in turn, bump Kinsler off of second base into a bench role, at least if Urias performs. Given that Kinsler will not make much money on this deal, it’s not something the Padres are likely to sweat.