Ryan Boyer

Baseball Daily Dose

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Mourning Morneau

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Some terrible news came out of Minnesota Tuesday night, as it was revealed that Justin Morneau is dealing with "mild concussion symptoms."


Morneau, of course, missed the final three months of last season while dealing with a concussion following a blow to the head when he slid into second base. This is the first we've heard this season of him having any recurrence of the issues, which he said originally surfaced on Monday.


The fact that the concussion symptoms are considered "mild" and that his headache has already started to abate is obviously good news. But, concussions for anyone are scary, and when we're talking about someone that missed half of last season with the issue, you can multiple the worry by a factor of 10.


Morneau is also dealing with a minor shoulder issue and admits that the surgery he had earlier this season to correct a herniated disk fragment in his neck hasn't corrected a feeling of numbness in one of his fingers. When you pile this onto the concussion problems resurfacing and also consider that he's batting a meager .227/.285/.333 this season with just four homers in 69 games, his career outlook has never been murkier.


* The Marlins were hoping to get Hanley Ramirez (shoulder) back in the lineup as early as Wednesday, but those plans have been halted after the shortstop left his rehab game Tuesday with renewed discomfort in his left shoulder.


Ramirez is headed back to Miami in order to be re-evaluated. If you recall, when Hanley originally suffered the injury, he and the Marlins downplayed the ailment and declared that he would be back in a few days. After the malady dragged on longer than expected, the team finally bit the bullet and placed him on the disabled list. Now, he's had a setback after just a couple rehab games.


This is the same shoulder that Ramirez had arthroscopic surgery on a few years back because it kept popping in and out of the socket. Hopefully he won't have to have the shoulder scoped again, or, worse, have a more invasive procedure. We should know the severity of the aggravation soon, but either way, it's unlikely we'll see him anytime soon.


* The date has been speculated on for a while, but now it's official.


Stephen Strasburg (Tommy John surgery) will be making his return to a major league mound on September 6, when he'll square off against the Dodgers.


The return will come almost exactly a year to the day that Strasburg underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. He's experienced no bumps in the road at all during his recovery and in fact has made it back sooner than expected, as most figured at the beginning of the year that the Nationals would play it safe and hold Strasburg back until next spring training.


The uber-talented youngster has been dominant so far during his rehab assignment, sitting comfortably in the mid-90s and touching the upper 90s while boasting a 25/3 K/BB ratio over 14 1/3 innings. Pitchers often have control issues initially upon returning from Tommy John surgery, so it wouldn't be a surprise if Strasburg deals with the same problems. His pitch count also figures to be curtailed.


That said, we probably don't need to tell you that you should have no qualms about activating him immediately.



NL Quick Hits: The Phillies have acquired John Bowker from the Pirates, though it's not clear at this point what they gave up. Bowker has done very little in his major league chances, but the Phils are hoping he can provide some pop off the bench … An MRI on Cameron Maybin's right wrist revealed no structural damage. He has some inflammation and figures to sit out a few more games, but it appears he'll avoid the disabled list … Even though he was rocked for 10 runs in just 1 2/3 innings in a start for Double-A Mobile Tuesday, the Diamondbacks could still call up first-round pick Trevor Bauer next month to serve out of the bullpen. He had been dominant prior to Tuesday's blowup … The Reds plan to activate Chris Heisey (oblique) from the disabled list Thursday. He's been out since early August … Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez plans to continue to rotate Jason Heyward and Jose Constanza in right field based on "match-ups and hunches." Heyward has yet to go on a hot streak in order to run away with the job, but the significantly less capable Constanza has predictably faded after a hot start … Dr. James Andrews told Tommy Hanson that he's dealing with normal wear and tear in his shoulder. He could resume throwing soon and return in a couple weeks … Jose Tabata sat out Tuesday's game with mild tenderness in his left wrist. He's considered day-to-day … Manny Parra underwent left elbow surgery Tuesday to remove a bone spur. He won't make it back this season but should be fine for spring training … Lance Berkman doesn't think the Cardinals plan to trade him. He's reportedly drawn interest from the Rangers and Angels … Nathan Eovaldi will make one more start before being shifted to the bullpen in order to keep his innings down … Derrek Lee took swings with a bat Monday for the first time since landing on the DL. The Pirates are hoping he can return by mid-September … The Dodgers are still hoping that Jonathan Broxton (elbow) can return this season. If he does come back, he won't be used in the ninth inning … Juan Uribe (hip) might need season-ending surgery, as he's still unable to run at 100 percent … Jimmy Rollins (groin) did some running and took swings Tuesday, but there's no timetable for his return.


AL Quick Hits: An X-ray on Jarrod Saltalamacchia's left forearm came back negative. Salty might need only a day or two of rest before returning … Grady Sizemore (knee, hernia) will begin a rehab assignment with Double-A Akron on Wednesday. He'll need at least 3-4 games, and perhaps more, before returning to the Indians lineup … Alex Rodriguez (thumb) doesn't expect to return to the Yankees lineup until Friday. An MRI Tuesday on A-Rod's thumb came back negative, but he needs a few days in order for a cortisone shot to calm down … Kevin Youkilis (back) is expected to return from the disabled list on Friday, the first day he's eligible. Youk went 1-for-3 with a single and a walk Tuesday in his first rehab game … Alexi Casilla suffered a setback with his hamstring injury during his first rehab game and is out indefinitely. He hurt the hamstring in his first game back earlier this month … J.D. Drew (shoulder) went 3-for-3 with three singles and a run scored Tuesday in his first rehab game. He'll return from the DL on Thursday and will likely be given a shot to reclaim his starting spot in right field … Chris Davis (shoulder) took 25 swings off a tee and also did some throwing Tuesday. He's hoping to return in mid-September … Michael Pineda will make just three more starts this season before being shut down. The Mariners had resisted such a plan earlier this season but have decided to play it safe with their prized right-hander … The struggling Matt LaPorta had seen his playing time decline, and now he's been optioned to Triple-A. The former top prospect will be 27 heading into next season and is running out of time to cash in on his potential … Clay Buchholz (back) played catch from 60 feet Tuesday. He hopes to return late in the year for the Red Sox, but it would be as a reliever … Jordan Walden has admitted that he's starting to wear down. He's pitched quite well of late, so we're not too concerned, but it's certainly worth noting.

Ryan Boyer is a baseball writer for Rotoworld. He can also be found on Twitter.
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