Derby contestant Morneau makes return to Minnesota


Minnesota Twins left fielder Josh Willingham fields single of the bat of Colorado Rockies’ Justin Morneau in the seventh inning of the Twins’ 13-5 victory in an interleague baseball game in Denver on Sunday, July 13, 2014. (David Zalubowski/Associated Press)
July 14

MINNEAPOLIS — The decision for the final spot on the National League home run derby squad was a simple call for captain Troy Tulowitzki.

Justin Morneau, his Colorado teammate, had the chance to go back to his baseball home.

“He’s a pro, and I guess that’s the best way to describe him,” Tulowitzki said. “I picked him as an easy choice. He’s meant so much to the fans here in Minnesota. It’s a great story. He’s had a great first half for us. He very well could be on this All-Star team, and he should be.”

Morneau missed out on the All-Star game itself, despite a renaissance season with 13 homers, 60 RBIs and a .312 batting average in his first 89 games for the Rockies. But as a former home run derby champion and a four-time All-Star with the Twins before a concussion derailed his career, Morneau seemed destined to be at the festivities this week at Target Field, in some form.

“I’m happy for him. I know what he went through over the last few years. I’m happy to see him smiling again and playing baseball and not having to worry about the stuff he had to worry about. It’s pretty cool,” said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, who’s a coach for the AL team.

Morneau was traded by the Twins last summer to the Pittsburgh Pirates and signed with Colorado over the winter. He played 10 years for Minnesota. The 2006 AL MVP was well on his way to contending for another one in July 2010, when he took a knee to the head in a collision at second base while trying to break up a double play. Morneau wasn’t able to play every day again until 2012. He didn’t rediscover his powerful left-handed swing again until this year.

“I don’t think I’d play anymore if I didn’t believe I could get back to this point, but there were times when I wasn’t sure whether I’d be able to get back here,” Morneau said Monday.

“I just wasn’t getting better. I was going through the ups and downs, getting better for a couple days, then kind of going backward. It was a really frustrating process,” he said. “That just really helped me appreciate the good times that much more. I don’t want to say I took them for granted, but it was one of those things when you’re young and you’re doing well, you just keep expecting yourself to do well.”

Morneau, who overtook Josh Hamilton in 2008 to win the home run derby at Yankee Stadium in New York, said he woke up Monday and immediately checked the weather forecast for the wind speed and direction.

“Hoping it was blowing out to right,” Morneau said, smiling.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

SECTION: {section=sports, subsection=nationals}!!!
INITIAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=bg52e9xhqr, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, comments_period=14, defaultsort=reverseChronological, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=3, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=15, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!!

UGC FROM ARTICLE: {allow_comments=true, allow_photos=false, allow_videos=false, comments_period=14, comments_source=washpost.com, default_sort=, default_tab=, display_comments=true, is_ugc_gallery=false, max_items_to_display=15, max_items_to_display_top=3, moderation_required=false, stream_id=}!!!

FINAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=bg52e9xhqr, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, comments_period=14, defaultsort=reverseChronological, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=3, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=15, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!
Comments
SECTION: {section=sports, subsection=nationals}!!!
INITIAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=bg52e9xhqr, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, comments_period=14, defaultsort=reverseChronological, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=3, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=15, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!!

UGC FROM ARTICLE: {allow_comments=true, allow_photos=false, allow_videos=false, comments_period=14, comments_source=washpost.com, default_sort=, default_tab=, display_comments=true, is_ugc_gallery=false, max_items_to_display=15, max_items_to_display_top=3, moderation_required=false, stream_id=}!!!

FINAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=bg52e9xhqr, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, comments_period=14, defaultsort=reverseChronological, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=3, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=15, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!
Show Comments