Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Morneau done for season

Tragic number down to 14 entering Tuesday. Twins win, Tigers win on Monday.

And the slim possibility of the Twins catching Detroit got a bit slimmer Monday night with the word Justin Morneau has a stress fracture in his lower back. It's supposed to heal on its own, but it will take three months.

In a sense, of course, the Twins have been doing without Morneau for quite some time. He's hit just .201 since the All-Star break. The home run rate was down only a little bit, but he wasn't doing anything else well.

And even so, this is pretty clearly his third best season. Not quite as good as 2008, and certainly not up to 2006 standards, but better than the rest.


He's not the only infielder down for the count. It's pretty clear now that Joe Crede has flailed at his last pitch of the season.

I can't imagine a team willing to bank on him to play third base for 2010. This is the third straight season cut short by back miseries for him. He's had two major surgeries.

Crede was handled carefully this year by the Twins. Only once did he play in more than 10 games in a row. He was essentially day-to-day all season. And when he didn't start, he didn't play; Ron Gardenhire operated on the basis that even if he was properly stretched out when the game started, by the time the seventh inning rolled around he was probably stiffening up.

There were a lot of days, between the insistence on carrying 12 pitches, Crede's balky body, and other bumps and bruises, that Gardenhire had just one or two position players available to play off the bench. It was an oft-overlooked handicap all season.

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