Found July 09, 2012 on Fox Sports North:
It's been a slow climb back from an injury-filled 2011 season for Minnesota Twins first baseman Justin Morneau, but he heads into this week's All-Star break on a bit of a high note. After going 1-for-5 in Sunday's extra-innings loss to Texas, Morneau is now riding a 10-game hitting streak into the break. During that stretch, he has 14 hits, four RBI and a home run. The homer came on Friday in Minnesota's first game against Texas. He appeared to have his second home run of the series on Sunday, but his deep drive to right field was knocked down by the wind. Morneau entered his 10-game hitting streak batting .229 with a .301 on-base percentage. He has now raised those to .246 and .312, respectively, with his hit streak. Health has been key for Morneau this season after dealing with a concussion, wrist injury and neck surgery in 2011. He spent a brief stint on the disabled list this season with a sore wrist but has otherwise managed to stay on the field. Sunday marked Morneau's 65th game of the season. By comparison, he played in just 69 total games last year. His 65 games played are seventh-most on Minnesota's roster. His 11 home runs are third-highest on the team, and he's also third in RBI with 38. Morneau began the year primarily as the Twins' designated hitter as he eased into the season following his tumultuous 2011. But over the past few months, the 31-year-old Morneau has spent almost all of his time at first base. Since May 16, when he returned from the DL, Morneau has been the Twins' DH just five times in 45 games. The remaining 40 were spent at first base. Morneau's current 10-game hitting streak is an encouraging sign for him and for the Twins as they prepare for the second half of the season. Now the biggest thing will be to make sure Morneau can stay healthy for a full year. Injuries have forced him to miss the ends of the last three seasons. Not since 2008 has Morneau played a full season. Minnesota's bash brothers: Neither Josh Willingham nor Trevor Plouffe eclipsed the 20-home run mark before the All-Star break, but both right-handed sluggers enter the break with a team-leading 19 homers. According to the Twins, it's just the third time in team history that two players have each had at least 19 homers before the break. It recently happened in 2007 when Morneau hit 24 before the break and outfielder Torii Hunter had 19. The only other time came back in 1964, when Harmon Killebrew had 30 and Bob Allison had 21 prior to the break. Plouffe's 19 home runs have come in 255 at-bats. In parts of two seasons in the majors in 2010 and 2011, he hit 10 total homers in 327 at-bats. Willingham, meanwhile, is on pace to surpass his career high of 29 home runs he set last year with Oakland. Both players are easily on pace for career-highs in slugging percentage. Plouffe is slugging .546 through Sunday, while Willingham's slugging percentage is .536 (his previous career high was .496). Arcia shines in Futures game: Twins minor league outfielder Oswaldo Arcia took part in Saturday's MLB Futures Game in Kansas City as part of the World Futures team. The 21-year-old Venezuela native finished 1-for-2 with an RBI double in the game, but his team fell to the U.S. Futures by a 17-5 final. Arcia was promoted from High-A Fort Myers to Double-A New Britain this season after hitting .309 with seven homers and 31 RBI in 55 games with the Miracle. In 18 games so far with the Rock Cats, he's batting .286 with one home run, 14 RBI and four doubles. Hicks is Minor League Player of the Week: Twins minor league outfielder Aaron Hicks was named the team's Minor League Player of the Week for June 30-July 6. During that time, Hicks hit .381 (8-for-21) with a double, one triple and one home run for Double-A New Britain. Hicks, ranked as the No. 45 overall prospect by Baseball America in 2011, is hitting .268.358.430 with eight homers, 37 RBI and 18 stolen bases in 77 games with the Rock Cats this season. He was Minnesota's first-round pick (14th overall) in the 2008 draft. Follow Tyler Mason on Twitter.

Dozier loses track of outs, gets doubled off

Minnesota Twins shortstop Brian Dozier lost track of the number of outs and got himself doubled off first base during Saturday's game in Arlington against the Texas Rangers. Your browser does not support iframes. In the top of the second with one out and Dozier on first, Twins batter Jamey Carroll flied out to Rangers center fielder Craig Gentry. However, since Dozier ran...

Mauer surprises with ASG appearance at first

Minnesota's Joe Mauer was the only Twin selected to the 2012 All-Star game, and he made the American League roster as a catcher. But Mauer entered Tuesday's game in the top of the eighth inning as a first baseman.Mauer's appearance in Tuesday's 8-0 National League victory was a brief one, as he didn't enter the game until the eighth inning and had just one at...

Q&A: Glen Perkins, Stud Reliever & Stat Geek

The numbers show that Glen Perkins has been an effective pitcher since moving from the starting rotation and into the bullpen. The Minnesota Twins southpaw knows those numbers as well as anyone, and not just his won-lost record, his ERA and his WHIP. He’s also aware of his BABiP, his FIP and his WAR, as well as most anything that can found in his PITCHf/x data. Prior to a recent...

Twins know they can climb out of 11-game deficit

The Minnesota Twins pull into the All-Star break playing reasonably good baseball and within spitting distance of first-place Chicago in the AL Central, 11 games out with roughly half a season left. The fact that they have rallied from such a deficit in recent memory bolsters confidence of a team digging itself out of a 6-16 April. "We dug ourselves a pretty deep hole,...

Starting pitching must improve in second half

After a forgettable 99-loss season in 2011, the Minnesota Twins have again stumbled in the first half of the 2012 season. After Sunday's 13-inning loss to the Texas Rangers, the Twins are now 36-49 and 11 games out of first place heading into next week's All-Star break. Through 85 games last year, Minnesota was 38-47 and eight games out of first place. If the Twins are to...

Twins thunderstruck, hit the deck in Texas

A potentially scary scene turned comical Sunday at the Ballpark in Arlington as the Minnesota Twins and Texas Rangers completed their three-game series. With one out in the top of the fourth inning of a scoreless game, lightning struck near the Rangers' park and was quickly followed by a loud clap of thunder. The noise was so loud that it caused a delay in the action. Twins...

De Vries' start gets Gardenhire's attention

By the time Sunday's 13-inning game between the Twins and Rangers was over, Cole De Vries' impressive start was all but forgotten. Still, that doesn't take away from the outing the right-hander put together for Minnesota.In just his fifth career major league start, De Vries delivered his best outing as a Twin. The Eden Prairie, Minn., native and former Golden Gopher held...

Why Trade For Liriano And Use Him As A Reliever?

With Francisco Liriano heating up, and so few teams branded as definitive sellers as trade-deadline season gets ready to kick into high gear, interest in the lefty figures to pique soon. Earlier today, Ken Rosenthal reported that some teams prefer Liriano as a reliever. While Liriano could work out as a reliever, acquiring him to be one seems like a circuitous route to success. ...

Loud Ass Thunderclap Sends MLB Teams Running Every Which Way

A lightning and thunder strike came with great vengeance and furious anger during the top of the fourth inning of a game on Sunday between the Texax Rangers and the Minnesota Twins. Check out the video below courtesy of the MLB which shows how each player reacted during the thunderclap. Priceless… Your browser does not support iframes. Article found on: Cosby Sweaters

Twins' bullpen can't hold off Rangers in extras

Minnesota used six pitchers to again subdue the Texas Rangers' offense for nine innings Saturday night. Unfortunately for the Twins, they couldn't do it in extra innings. Nelson Cruz hit an RBI double off reliever Kyle Waldrop (0-1) in the 10th inning that scored Adrian Beltre to lead the Rangers to a 4-3 victory that snapped their five-game losing streak. ''Cruz...

Loud Thunder Scares The Crap Out Of The Twins And Rangers

I don’t think I ever heard thunder this loud before. The Texas Rangers were hosting the Minnesota Twins when out of nowhere a loud smack of thunder quickly sent the players running off the field. This would be a lot funnier except I would’ve reacted like the Twins player on first base who ended up on all fours.

Thunder made the Rangers & Twins about poop their pants on Sunday at Rangers Ballpark

During the Minnesota Twins-Texas Rangers game on Sunday at Rangers Ballpark, a clap of thunder caused the players on the field to freak out and run to their respective dugouts. The Twins' Josh Willingham, who was a baserunner leading off first base, even fell to his knees as the thunder struck. Here's two videos of the scene:Thigh Five: The Big LeadGet the latest Thigh updates...

Notable First-Half Stories

Trevor Plouffe as a Poor-Man's Jose Bautista Plouffe was hitting .138 on May 15, and since then has hit 18 home runs, giving him 19 on the year. He qualifies at shortstop, among other places and has an .873 OPS despite the slow start. In 192 Triple-A at-bats in 2010, Plouffe had a 1.019 OPS with 15 HR, so the power surge wasn't entirely out of nowhere. Even last year...
MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.