Twins expecting to get Justin Morneau back on Friday

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Good news, Twins fans.

According to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com, first baseman Justin Morneau is scheduled to return from the disabled list Friday in Cleveland.

Morneau has been sidelined since undergoing surgery on his neck in late June. The 30-year-old native of Canada is batting just .225 this season with a .619 OPS, four home runs and 21 RBI in 231 plate appearances, but he’s been hitting the ball well on his minor league rehab assignment and is certainly capable of catching fire down the stretch.

The Twins are currently 10 1/2 games back of the Tigers in the American League Central standings. Morneau is owed $14 million in 2012 and another $14 million in 2013. He’ll be a free agent after that.

Yankees, Mariners expressing interest in J.A. Happ

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Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports that the Yankees and Mariners are both expressing interest in Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ.

Happ is posting a 3.48 ERA and a 94/25 K/BB ratio in 82.2 innings across 14 starts and has been stingy with the hits as well. Between that, the Blue Jays’ lack of contention and the fact that Happ is in the walk year of his three-year, $36 million deal, all signs point to the Jays trading them.

In normal circumstances you might not expect the Jays to make a trade with the Yankees, but at this point it sort of doesn’t matter, does it? It’s not like Happ in New York on a couple month rental will impact the 2018 Jays too much. And, given his pending free agency, it’s not extraordinarily likely that he’d haunt the Jays from the Bronx long term either.

There’s not a ton of elite pitching currently available, but as the trade deadline approaches — a little over a month to go on that score — the talk about Happ, Cole Hamels, Francisco Liriano and others will heat up. Figure the Yankees will be linked with any and all available starters.