Morneau back from two-month absence

Minnesota Twins' Justin Morneau reacts after striking out against the Boston Red Sox. (REUTERS/Adam...

Minnesota Twins' Justin Morneau reacts after striking out against the Boston Red Sox. (REUTERS/Adam Hunger)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:52 PM ET

Canadian Justin Morneau returned to the Minnesota Twins roster Friday for the first time in more than two months.

The first baseman was recalled three days earlier than expected from a rehab assignment at triple-A Rochester and was activated off the disabled list.

Morneau, 30, had been out of the Twins lineup since June 9. First he was sidelined with a left wrist injury, then had surgery June 29 to remove a herniated disc fragment in his neck to relieve pressure on a pinched nerve.

He batted .367 with one home run, four doubles and eight RBI in seven games with Rochester.

Minnesota also activated infielder Alexi Casilla, who had been on the 15-day disabled list with a right hamstring strain.

GRETZKY DEAL FINALIZED

Trevor Gretzky, 18, is now officially a professional baseball player.

The Chicago Cubs announced Friday that Wayne Gretzky's son has signed.

"The Cubs are thrilled to welcome Trevor Gretzky to the organization," general manager Jim Hendry said. "It was a pleasure working with the Gretzky family on this contract and we are excited by Trevor's decision to begin his pro baseball career with the Cubs."

The deal reportedly was worth $375,000. Gretzky, a 6-foot-4, 190-pounder, is a first baseman and outfielder.

TIGER HIT ON HEAD

Detroit Tigers reliever Al Alburquerque was struck on the head by a sharply hit ball during batting practice Friday in Baltimore.

He was conscious as he was carted off the field and taken to hospital. His condition wasn't immediately known.

Alburquerque was walking in the outfield when struck by a ball off the bat of the Orioles' Robert Andino.

SLUGGER SEEMS DUNN

Adam Dunn's batting average this season, entering the Chicago White Sox game Friday night, was a miserable .161.

But that number looked good compared with his overall performance against left-handed pitchers -- a miserable .038 (3-for-79).

Dunn is, however, an American League leader in one category -- his 146 strikeouts (in 341 at-bats) are more than any other player.

Manager Ozzie Guillen isn't giving up on him, though.

"Every time he's at the plate, I think he has a chance. I have confidence and think he's going to do it."

RAYS PITCHER OUT FOR SEASON

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Alex Cobb had surgery Friday to remove a vein blockage near his first right rib.

The 23-year-old had complained of discomfort in his right hand following a start Saturday.

Although he will miss the rest of this season, Cobb should be ready for the start of spring training, Rays manager Joe Maddon said.

"It's a tough one, but from what I understand, it's not going to be a long-term serious kind of thing, and he's going to be fine."

BRIEFLY

The Oakland Athletics named former manager Phil Garner a special adviser Friday. The A's first pick in 1971, Garner played 16 years in the majors and was a manager for 15 ... The Philadelphia Phillies signed outfielder Jack Cust to a minor league contract. Cust, 32, was released Aug. 4 by the Seattle Mariners after batting .213 with three home runs and 23 RBI in 67 games ... Cincinnati Reds rookie shortstop Zack Cozart had Tommy John surgery on his left elbow Friday.

It is thought he will be recovered in time for 2012 spring training ... The Cleveland Indians have activated Korean outfielder Choo Shin-soo from the disabled list two weeks ahead of schedule. Choo had surgery on his left thumb June 28 and was expected to be out eight to 10 weeks.


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