Like Joe Mauer and Tsuyoshi Nishioka before him, first baseman Justin Morneau was officially shut down for the season on Sunday, essentially because of a concussion suffered Aug. 28, though the team revealed he also will have surgery this morning to remove a cyst from his left knee and bone spurs from his right foot.
“The knee surgery is a simple procedure,” trainer Rick McWane said before Sunday afternoon’s game against the Indians at Target Field. “It hasn’t been bothering him as much as the other things. The plan is take care of his knee and get him started as soon as possible on an offseason workout program.”
Morneau missed 56 games because of neck, arm and wrist injuries, and in June had surgery to repair a ruptured disc in his neck. He missed 81 games last season, plus the postseason, because of a concussion, but felt it was healed before he suffered another concussion while diving for a double in an 11-4 victory over Detroit Aug. 28.
“He’s been sick and throwing up and having headaches because of the symptoms,” McWane said. “That’s been the cause. He didn’t hit his head on the ground on the play. It was more of a whiplash jarring with his head. You don’t have to hit your head on anything to have a concussion.”
Morneau finished the season batting .227 with four homers and 30 RBIs. He hasn’t played a full season since he appeared in 163 games in 2008, missing the final 20 games of 2009 because of a microfracture in his lower back.
Rookie Chris Parmelee has been starting at first base since he was called up from Class AA on Sept. 6.
Mauer’s season ended Friday when he was diagnosed with pneumonia. He missed 58 games between April and June because of leg weakness then missed a handful of others because of a stiff neck and illness. Nishioka missed 59 games because of a broken leg then immediately suffered an oblique injury he hid from the team. That finally caught up with him on Friday, when the team shut his season down.
MLB Team Report – Minnesota Twins – NOTES, QUOTES
–OF Jason Kubel isn’t officially shut down as teammates Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Tsuyoshi Nishioka are, but if he plays again this season, it will be in a limited capacity. His sprained left foot is too sore for baseball activity.
“There’s just no way to play,” Kubel said. “What I really need is rest. Why not start now, you know?”
Kubel injured the foot May 30 while leaping for a home-run ball in a 6-5 loss at Detroit. When he returned in mid-August, he required a couple of cortisone shots to get through the rest of the season. The last one has worn off, he said, and there’s no sense in getting another with 12 games left.
“It’s almost impossible to put him out there in the outfield,” manager Ron Gardenhire said.
“Putting him out there as a DH and him trying to run the bases is not working out. You can see he’s not pushing off his foot at all now.”
The only thing that doctors can prescribe for the injury is rest.
“And the thing is by rest, that includes (batting practice) and everything too,” Kubel said. “So it will probably have to be nothing. The doctors are all on the same page. They think the best thing for me is rest.”
–LHP Francisco Liriano made his first appearance in nearly a month when he pitched two scoreless innings during an 8-4 loss to Cleveland on Saturday. He gave up two hits and struck out three.
Liriano hadn’t pitched since being pulled after two innings of a 6-1 loss to Baltimore on Aug. 25. He said it was important to pitch again before the season ends Sept. 28.
“You don’t want to go home on the DL,” he said. “You want to go out and pitch and show everything’s fine before you go home. That’s why I want to go out there and pitch, at least, a couple more times.”
Liriano is slated to start a game during next Saturday’s double-header at Cleveland. Ron Gardenhire said the plan is for Liriano to throw 2-3 innings, followed by another 2-3 by LHP Brian Duensing.
–1B Chris Parmelee may be the least heralded of the many rookies on the Twins’ 25-man roster right now, but he’s undoubtedly been the most impressive.
Called up from Class AA New Britain on Sept. 6, he hit his first major league home run on Saturday and is batting .364 (12-for-33) with six RBIs, five walks and four strikeouts.
His plan at the plate is simple. “Look for something to hit hard, that’s pretty much it,” he said. His two-run homer to right field in eighth inning cut Cleveland’s lead to 8-4.
“I felt a lot better than I thought it would,” he said. “I’ve been thinking about it, growing up and stuff, and it was 10 times better, especially in front of this home crowd. It was amazing.”
–2B Alexi Casilla, on the disabled list with a hamstring strain, said he plans to play when the Twins return from Monday’s makeup game in New York.
“I’ll run the bases on Tuesday, as a final test,” he said. “After that, they’ll make the decision.”
Casilla has been limited to one game since injuring the hamstring July 27 at Texas.
–OF Jason Repko was sent to Hennepin County Medical Center for evaluation after being hit in the helmet by a Justin Masterson fastball while batting Sunday.
BY THE NUMBERS: 13 — Times the Twins have been swept this season after dropping three to Cleveland this weekend at Target Field. According to Elias Sports Bureau, that’s the most since the 1978 team was swept 17 times.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “As a manager, it’s my fault. I brought the guys in with the expectations we’d throw the ball over the plate and take our chances, and they didn’t do it. So I’ll take this one. It’s on me. I made the moves.” — ManagerRon Gardenhire, after Alex Burnett and Jose Mijares gave up bases-loaded walks to tie the game at 3-3 in a 6-5 loss to Cleveland on Sunday.
MLB Team Report – Minnesota Twins – ROSTER REPORT
–OF Jason Repko was sent to Hennepin County Medical Center for evaluation after being hit in the helmet by a Justin Masterson fastball while batting Sept. 18.
–C Joe Mauer (pneumonia) was diagnosed Sept. 16, and he requires at least two weeks of rest. He’s out for the rest of the season.
–SS Tsuyoshi Nishioka (sore right oblique) did not play Sept. 6-8. He was back in the lineup Sept. 9, but he didn’t play Sept. 10-14. He was shut down for the season on Sept. 16.
–1B Justin Morneau (mild concussion, left shoulder stiffness) did not play Aug. 29-Sept. 18. He was shut down on Sept. 18 for the season.
–DH/OF Jason Kubel (sore left foot) left the Sept. 16 game, and he didn’t play Sept. 17. He might be able to return as a designated hitter or a pinch hitter before the end of the season.
–CF Denard Span (migraine symptoms) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Aug. 14. He missed two months earlier this season because of a concussion. He resumed baseball activities Sept. 3 and took batting practice Sept. 7. On Sept. 16, Span went through his third consecutive workout without experiencing any problems. If the trend continues, he could be back in the lineup by Sept. 20.
–RHP Scott Baker (flexor strain in right arm) went on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 9. He began a throwing program by playing catch Aug. 23. He threw off a mound Sept. 11. There is a chance he could pitch some innings in relief before the end of the season.
–2B Alexi Casilla (strained right hamstring) went on the 15-day disabled list July 28. He was activated Aug. 12 but then was placed back on DL Aug. 13 after aggravating the injury. He began a rehab assignment with Class A Fort Myers on Aug. 29, but he was re-injured in that game. He was running at Target Field in mid-September, and he hopes to be activated before the end of the season.
–RHP Nick Blackburn (right lateral forearm strain) went on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 22. An MRI revealed an entrapped nerve caused by inflammation. He was transferred to the 60-day disabled list Sept. 4, ending his season.
RHP Carl Pavano
RHP Kevin Slowey
LHP Scott Diamond
RHP Anthony Swarzak
RHP Liam Hendriks
LHP Francisco Liriano
RHP Joe Nathan (closer)
RHP Matt Capps
LHP Phil Dumatrait
RHP Alex Burnett
LHP Jose Mijares
LHP Brian Duensing
LHP Glen Perkins
RHP Lester Oliveros
RHP Jim Hoey
RHP Kyle Waldrop
1B Justin Morneau
2B Luke Hughes
SS Trevor Plouffe
3B Danny Valencia
INF Matt Tolbert
INF Chris Parmelee
INF Tsuyoshi Nishioka (out for season)
LF Jason Kubel
CF Ben Revere
RF Michael Cuddyer
OF Rene Tosoni
OF Jason Repko
OF Brian Dinkelman
OF Joe Benson