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Justin Morneau takes a job as a special assistant for the Twins

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Bob Elliott of the Canadian Baseball Network reports that Justin Morneau has joined the Twins organization as a special assistant. This would seem to mark the official end of his playing career which, functionally speaking, ended last spring.

Morneau played for Team Canada in last year’s World Baseball Classic but, despite his efforts to latch on with a big league team afterward, he ended up finding no takers. That makes his 2016 campaign with the White Sox in which he hit .261/.303/.429 with six homers his final big league season.

For his career, Morneau finishes with a line of .281/.348/.481 (OPS+ 120) with 247 homers and 985 RBI in 14 big league seasons. Morneau won the 2006 MVP Award and seemed to be on a near-Hall of Fame trajectory before his career was repeatedly derailed by concussions. First a nasty one in 2010 which ended what was turning out to be his best season yet and then a final one in 2015, one year after winning the NL batting title in Colorado.

One can look at Morneau’s career and wonder what might have been if not for the injuries. One can also look at his career and appreciate how well he did for so long despite them.

Good luck with your future endeavors, Justin.

Bradley Zimmer to miss 8-12 months after shoulder surgery

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Indians outfielder Bradley Zimmer is out for the year after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder, the team announced Saturday. The projected recovery timetable spans anywhere from 8-12 months, which puts Zimmer’s return in the second half of the 2019 season, assuming that all goes well.

Zimmer, 25, had not made an appearance for the Indians since June 3. He racked up a cumulative nine weeks on the major- and minor-league disabled lists this season and will have finished his year with a .226/.281/.330 batting line, seven extra-base hits, and four stolen bases in 114 plate appearances.

The outfielder reportedly sustained his season-ending injury during a workout in Triple-A Columbus, where Cleveland.com’s Joe Noga says Zimmer began feeling discomfort in his shoulder after completing a set of one-handed throwing drills. Comments from club manager Terry Francona suggest that the Indians have every reason to believe that he’ll make a full recovery by next summer, though it’s not yet clear whether or not he’ll need additional time to readjust to a full workload when he takes the field again.