Finally, some promising news on Justin Morneau.
According to Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the 30-year-old first baseman has been participating in strenuous workouts for over a month at a training facility in Phoenix and has not experienced a concussion-related symptom yet.
There’s still some concern that Morneau’s head issues will resurface when spring training opens and he’s exposed to the heat and sunlight of a typical March in Fort Myers, Florida. But, so far so good.
“I wouldn’t say the head’s perfect yet,” Morneau told the Star-Tribune. “I’m not going to declare that until I go through fielding ground balls, playing catch, taking batting practice, doing all the baseball stuff. But what I was able to do today is miles ahead of where I was at this time last year.”
Morneau batted just .227/.285/.333 with four home runs and 30 RBI across 288 plate appearances last year and has played in only 150 games over the past two seasons. The native of British Columbia was the American League’s Most Valuable Player in 2006 and was a .282/.352/.505 hitter between ’04 and ’09.
As we noted, Bryce Harper was ejected in the Phillies-Mets game for arguing balls and strikes, punctuating the ejection with a fairly aggressive argument in which he sorta shoved his manager into the ump, had to be held back by teammates and may very well have earned himself a suspension.
We’ll see about the suspension part, but even if he didn’t anger Rob Manfred over all of that, he did annoy his teammate, Jake Arrieta, who was on the mound last night. Here were Arrieta’s comments after the game:
“Look, I mean, [Harper’s] got to understand we need him in right field,” Arrieta said. “I don’t care how bad the umpire is. He wasn’t great for either side. I’m out there trying to make pitches, and he misses some calls. So what? We need him out there. I need him in right field, I need him at the plate, and he wasn’t there. So that hurts.
“We were flat from start to finish. Two-hour delay, it doesn’t matter. We have to be ready to play. We weren’t, and it showed. The dugout was flat. The defense wasn’t good. Didn’t throw the ball well as a staff overall. We got beat. We started at 8:45. I don’t think our guys were ready to play. We’ve got to come out tomorrow ready to play.”
For Harper’s part he was contrite after the game, echoing Arrieta’s words about needing to keep a level head and about him being more useful in the game than in the clubhouse. Still, he got told by his teammate. And seems to know he got told.