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Twins notebook, 6/14

June 14, 2011

Morneau tries to hit, placed on disabled list

MINNEAPOLIS — First baseman Justin Morneau is the latest in a long list of Twins to hit the disabled list this season.

Morneau was placed on the 15-day DL with a left wrist strain and will have his wrist immobilized for 10 days, Twins general manager Bill Smith said after Tuesday’s rainout. The move is retroactive to June 10.

“We’re looking at this as a short-term event, but we will put him on the DL,” Smith said. “Rest, and they believe it will come around in that 10 days, plus a few days to get his range of motion back.”

The Twins will make an additional roster move before Wednesday night’s game to replace Morneau on the 25-man roster.

Morneau, who has not played since Thursday to rest his sore left wrist, had the MRI on his wrist looked at by a specialist, Dr. Thomas Varecka, who recommended a cortisone shot. After getting the cortisone shot on Sunday, Morneau hit in the cage on Tuesday and didn’t feel good.

“He came in today, said he felt pretty good, went down to the cage, took about 20 swings, and it wasn’t as good as we had hoped,” Twins head trainer Rick McWane said.

After the session in the cage did not go well, Morneau was sent to see Varecka, and that meeting resulted in the decision to put Morneau on the DL.

Nishioka may rejoin Twins on Wednesday

MINNEAPOLIS — It’s not official yet, but Tsuyoshi Nishioka could be back in a Twins uniform as soon as Wednesday.

Nishioka played nine innings at shortstop on Tuesday in Toledo for Triple-A Rochester, and is scheduled to travel back to the Twins Cities on Wednesday.

“What we want to do is let the doctors and trainers see him,” said Twins general manager Bill Smith. “They haven’t seen him in a long time. He’s been down in Fort Myers for a long time. So we want to let them see him before we do anything further.”

Nishioka went 0-for-4 on Tuesday, and batted .333 in three games with the Red Wings, going 4-for-12 with a double, an RBI and a walk. In four games with Class A Advanced Fort Myers, Nishioka also was 4-for-12, with a double, an RBI, two walks and a stolen base.

Before fracturing his left fibula against the Yankees on April 7 in New York, Nishioka played six games at second base for the Twins. He batted .208/.269/.519 with a double, two RBIs, two walks and a stolen base.

Since going down to Fort Myers, Nishioka has been working on turning double plays at both shortstop and second base, even spending some time with Hall of Famer Paul Molitor.

“Molitor did a lot of work with him,” Gardenhire said. “I talked with Moli today, and he said he actually moved around really good both sides. He’s moving around very well at shortstop, arm strength’s a lot better than Moli saw in Spring Training.”

Gardenhire and the Twins have said they plan to move Nishioka to shortstop when he returns, in part due to the nature of his leg injury. At shortstop, Nishioka will have a better view of the runner coming at him during a double play, rather than facing away from the runner while awaiting the throw as the second baseman.

In addition to working on his play at shortstop, second base and around the bag on double plays, Molitor gave Nishioka some advice on recovering from injuries, having dealt with a few during his career himself.

Molitor said he really didn’t get to see much of Nishioka before the injury, but he does like what has seen during his rehab work in continuing to adjust to the differences between baseball in Japan and the Major Leagues.

“He’s done very, very well,” Molitor said. “How well he’ll do as he comes back from not only a disappointing injury but also acclimating to Major League Baseball, I couldn’t tell you. But I do believe that, in time, he’s going to be a very good player.”

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