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07/03/07 8:03 PM ET
Notes: Morneau nicked on A-Rod play
Castillo's hand worries Gardy; Morneau needs Derby pitcher
By Kelly Thesier / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- Justin Morneau has had his fair share of knocks this year and somehow, he just keeps rebounding. After suffering a broken nose in a game against the Tigers in early May, Morneau was back in the lineup the next day. Even a bruised lung, which hospitalized the first baseman for three nights, only kept Morneau out of five games. So would anyone expect him not to play through a sore right calf muscle? Lost in the midst of Monday night's 5-1 defeat at Yankee Stadium was the fact that Morneau was nicked in a collision at first base with Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez in the sixth inning. Morneau said he felt a pain in his calf when Rodriguez caught his left leg with Morneau's while legging out a fielder's choice. The collision occurred in part because Morneau had to jump high in the air to field the throw from second baseman Luis Castillo. Rodriguez had to leave the game after he tumbled at the end of the play and came up favoring his left leg. He was diagnosed with a hamstring strain but was back in the lineup for the Yankees on Tuesday. Morneau remained down for a minute at the end of the play, but he was able to remain in the game. He said that since he was moving around for the rest of the inning and batted early in the seventh, he didn't feel the injury until after the game, when he finally sat down. On Tuesday, Morneau said he still felt some tightness in the leg but hoped that it would loosen up during the team's pregame activities. He also said he felt fortunate that it wasn't any worse. "It's two big guys colliding into each other," Morneau said. "So it could have been much worse." Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he wasn't too concerned about how the injury would affect Morneau, but the team would be cautious. "If he gets out there and it's bothering him a lot, we'll take him out," Gardenhire said. "But knowing him, he should be fine." It didn't appear like the calf was of any concern as Morneau legged out a double to right field in the second inning on Tuesday. Not quite right: It's an unusual sight to see Castillo double-clutch on a routine double-play ball. So for Gardenhire to see his second baseman do that three times in Monday's loss at New York was a bit disconcerting. Gardenhire stated after the game that he was worried about whether Castillo's hand was bothering him. The second baseman had his left hand stepped on during a play at home plate during the series with the Blue Jays. "Luis is as good as they get turning the double play, and I think we saw three plays in a row, and I don't know if he's telling me the truth about his hand," Gardenhire said after the game. "He's normally pretty good, but he had a lot of trouble out there tonight." Castillo's left hand is still a bit swollen, and he continues to wear a bandage on it. But the second baseman said the hand is slowly getting better and that it hasn't bothered him. For now, Gardenhire will let Castillo play, since he contends that the hand is not hindering him. "I can only go by what he said, and he wants to play," Gardenhire said. "So we'll see how it is." Seeking an arm: Morneau's place in the Home Run Derby is secured, but he's still seeking someone to throw to him. The first baseman's first wish for his batting practice pitcher was none other than a fellow Canadian, five-time All-Star Larry Walker. But Morneau learned on Tuesday that Walker would be unable to do that. "I have to go to Plan B now," Morneau said. "I didn't really expect it, but now I'll have to figure out who I'm going to have throw to me." Twins tidbits: Rondell White played seven innings in left field on Monday night for Class A Fort Myers. White did not record a hit, going 0-for-3, but he did make a diving catch to prevent two runs from scoring. Gardenhire said the outfielder remains on line to possibly join the club right after the All-Star break. ... Triple-A Rochester infielder Matt Tolbert will represent the Twins at this year's Futures Game on Sunday, July 8, in San Francisco. Matt Garza had been scheduled to take part in the event before he was called up to pitch Friday. ... There has been no decision made on which game Garza will start of Friday's doubleheader in Chicago. Gardenhire said the option will be given to Scott Baker as to which game he would pitch, and Garza will then get the other. That choice will be made over the next few days. ... After Monday's game, there was an interesting stat that emerged. In 488 career games, Morneau had recorded exactly 488 career hits. Impressive stretch: Triple-A Rochester right-hander Nick Blackburn was named the organization's Pitcher of the Month for June. Blackburn, 25, went 5-0 and did not record an earned run over 39 innings, including pitching two complete-game shutouts. Blackburn entered his start on Tuesday night against Buffalo having not allowed an earned run in 41 1/3 innings, a stretch that dated back to May 29. But that streak came to an end at 45 innings when Luis Rivas scored on an RBI single in the third inning. Down on the farm: Brian Duensing gave up five runs over five innings in Rochester's 7-4 loss at Buffalo on Monday night. ... Infielder Matt Moses went 2-for-5 with an RBI but recorded two errors in Double-A New Britain's 21-4 loss at Reading. The Rock Cat pitchers gave up 15 earned runs in the contest, which included a 13-run fifth inning for Reading. ... Oswaldo Sosa threw seven scoreless innings in Fort Myers' 4-0 win over Lakeland. ... Chris Parmelee belted his 11th home run of the season as part of a 2-for-4 day at the plate in Class A Beloit's 9-3 victory over Clinton. Coming up: It will be quite a Fourth of July showdown at Yankee Stadium, as Twins ace Johan Santana will face off against New York right-hander Mike Mussina in the 12:05 p.m. CT start. Santana holds a 1-0 record with a 0.56 ERA at Yankee Stadium while Mussina is 20-5 with a 3.15 ERA in 29 career starts against the Twins.
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.