8/10/2013 3:26 P.M. ET
Morneau feels swing is clicking as power numbers rise
By Joey Nowak / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- Justin Morneau revealed a tidbit of information this weekend that could either boost his trade value or help the Twins for the remainder of the year.
The 32-year-old former Most Valuable Player, signed through 2013, said he doesn't know if he's been placed on or cleared waivers, but since just before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, Morneau believes his swing has been clicking.
"Whether that had anything to do with it or not, I have no idea," he said of any potential relief from the Deadline passing quietly. "And I have no idea if I've been put through waivers or claimed on waivers or whatever it is, so that's still a possibility. But that's out of my control. If that happens, I'll deal with it. But right now, I'm just enjoying playing the game. The swing feels like my swing. I'm not going to say it feels good or whatever it is, but at least it feels like my swing when I go up there, and that's something I've been searching for for a long time."
It's shown at the plate. Since July 30 -- a span of 50 plate appearances -- his power numbers have increased. He's hit two doubles, five homers and driven in 11 runs with a .625 slugging percentage. In the previous 96 games, he had eight homers and 53 RBIs, with just a .396 slugging percentage.
"I just felt like I needed to use my hands a little better, and somehow it just felt right," Morneau said. "You try to be consistent with it and repeat it, and that's what makes the game difficult and fun, but when it comes and it feels good, that's a good feeling."
Teams like the Rays, Orioles, Blue Jays and Indians have all shown interest in Morneau, according to a report in the Boston Globe. He's making $14 million in the final year of his contract.
"I don't think a hot streak or a cold streak will affect that too much," Morneau said of his trade value. "If there's a team that feels like I can contribute, and it's worth giving up something, then it'll happen. If not, I'm happy here."
Rookie Gibson foresees innings limit this season
CHICAGO -- Kyle Gibson doesn't hear a clock ticking, but he knows there may be one somewhere.
The 25-year-old rookie right-hander, about 21 months removed from Tommy John surgery, expects the Twins to cut his season short at some point. He doesn't know when that might be, but he hopes it won't be any time soon.
"I feel great," Gibson said. "My arm's recovering just as well. [Strength and conditioning coach Perry Castellano's] doing a great job with my strength and conditioning and the running, and I'm feeling good. I feel like about the same when I started the season."
Gibson said general manager Terry Ryan hasn't said anything to him about a possible shutdown, but he's thrown 42 innings with the Twins this season (including 5 2/3 on Friday), in addition to 92 2/3 with Triple-A Rochester.
"That's coming from other offices other than mine," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said when asked about a possible shutdown. "I'll let them tell me what their thought process is. I'm sure we'll sit and talk about it as we go along and make a decision. ... We'll eventually sit down and figure out which route to go with him."
In his first Major League season, Gibson is 2-3 with a 6.43 ERA. He says his velocity remains in the low-to-mid 90s, where he'd like it, but he's been paying for costly mistakes in his last four starts. After not allowing any home runs in his first four starts (spanning 22 1/3 innings), he's given up seven in his last four (19 2/3 innings).
The righty expects to be shut down somewhere between 150-160 innings.
"I don't think my opinion or effectiveness or strength is really going to play into it," Gibson said. "They have a number in mind, and once I get there, they're probably going to back me down and say, 'That's enough, get ready for next year.'"
• Brian Duensing and Glen Perkins pitched in both games of the Twins' doubleheader on Friday, but neither threw more than two total innings, so Gardenhire is not concerned about his bullpen.
"We'll know more today when they go out there and throw [before the game]," Gardenhire said. "We should be just fine."
Duensing got the win in both games, becoming the first Twins pitcher to win twice in one day since Walter Johnson in 1923.
• Gardenhire said outfielder Josh Willingham was fine after returning from the disabled list on Friday and serving as the designated hitter in both games.
"Right now, it's just easier this way. Just let him do what he's doing," Gardenhire said. "Just getting him swings right now is more important than anything else, and running the bases. He's already played the outfield down there. I'm not too worried about that part of it."