MLB notes: Twins trade Justin Morneau to Pirates

Justin Morneau. (Reuters)

Justin Morneau. (Reuters)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:19 PM ET

Justin Morneau has a new home.

The heavy-hitting Canadian first baseman was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday. Coming to his old team, the Minnesota Twins, is outfielder Alex Presley, as well as cash considerations and a player to be named later.

“Justin’s torn,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle told reporters Saturday prior to Pittsburgh’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals.



“He was one of the crown jewels of that organization and he’s excited about having the opportunity to get back to the post-season because you never know how many of those opportunities will come around.”

Indeed, making the post-season twice in 11 years isn't a great situation for an aging Morneau, especially with an expiring contract. This season, the Twins are nearly 20 games under .500.

The Pirates, meanwhile, are 78-56 and, heading into Saturday action, tied with the Cardinals for top spot in the National League Central division.

The Pirates’ starting catcher is also Canadian. All-star Russell Martin is from Toronto.

Morneau, a 32-year-old from New Westminster, B.C., hit .259 with 17 home runs with Minnesota this year.


WATCH: MORNEAU'S TOP HIGHLIGHTS


CRUZ SAYS SORRY

Nelson Cruz has taken the first step toward gaining the trust back of those around the Texas Rangers.

The suspended outfielder read a statement Friday night to the media at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Cruz is serving a 50-game ban for using performance-enhancing drugs.

“I want to apologize to the fans, the Texas Rangers organization and all of Major League Baseball for the mistake I made," Cruz said.

"I apologize to my family. There have been a lot of people and fans behind me. It has been a really tough few weeks, but I have good friends and a good family. They give me the support I need.”

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said the team, which is atop the American League West division, is thinking about adding Cruz to its post-season roster.

“We'll see," Daniels said. "Our thought process is just to keep him as ready as we can. If we're in the post-season, we'll make an evaluation.”

Cruz, who was hitting .269 with 27 home runs and 76 RBIs before getting suspended, has been working out in the Dominican Republic as of late.

Texas picked up Alex Rios from the Chicago White Sox to fill in for Cruz.

HARPER’S HUSTLE QUESTIONED

Bryce Harper, he of incredible potential, may get benched if he doesn't begin running out ground balls.

The Washington Nationals star outfielder was ripped Friday by bench coach Randy Knorr after the team's 3-2 loss to the New York Mets.

Harper, 20, didn't hustle down the line following a frustrating at-bat in the eighth inning. There were two on and two out with Washington down 3-2 when Harper grounded out.

“(It's) something that we've got to get to the bottom of and keep talking to him (about), because eventually we're just going to have to take him out of the game," Knorr told CSNWashington.com.

Teammate Ian Desmond came to the defence of last year's top National League rookie.

"He's 20 years old and I think he's still dealing with some emotions of the game," Desmond said. "It's hard to remember a lot of the time that he is 20. What most of us were doing at 20 wasn't this.”

Harper also weighed in with a quick comment: "I guess I'll learn from it."

In 96 games this season, Harper is hitting .277 with 19 home runs and 49 RBIs.

NO MORE ANAHEIM

If all goes well for Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim owner Arte Moreno, the team will soon be able to officially drop its "of Anaheim" tag.

Anaheim City Council is expected to vote Tuesday on whether or not to begin negotiating with Moreno about a new lease at Angels Stadium, according to the Los Angeles Times. The lease, if approved as proposed, would be good until 2057.

Moreno wants to have complete authority to throw away the "of Anaheim," so the club could simply be known as the "Los Angeles Angels." The extra two words were added in 2005 in an effort to satisfy legal language in the current lease agreement.

Angels Stadium, which is the fourth oldest venue in MLB, was last fixed up in the mid-1990s. Renovations this time around would come from Monero, not the city, according to the proposed deal.

BRIEFLY

Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera, a Triple Crown threat, did not start Saturday due to a nagging abdominal injury. Cabrera hasn't played an entire game since Aug. 27 ... New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez was scratched from the lineup Saturday with flu-like symptoms … San Francisco Giants outfielder Angel Pagan was activated from the 60-day disabled list Friday night. Pagan injured his hamstring May 25 during an inside-the-park walk-off home run … Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer has started adding to his rehab workouts, according to MLB.com. Mauer, on the seven-day disabled list since Aug. 20 with a concussion, was hitting .324 prior to the ailment.


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