White Sox first baseman/designated hitter Justin Morneau took on the field swings for the first time since December surgery to repair the primary flexor tendon in his left elbow.
According to multiple sources, Morneau took 25 swings Saturday and Sunday at U.S. Cellular. He previously travelled with the team on the recent road trip to Cleveland and Boston. According to Comcast Sportsnet Chicago, Morneau has been a presence in the Clubhouse since signing with the team on June 9th.
Morneau originally had problems with the elbow last season with Colorado. The injury was originally thought to be tendinitis. Sportsnet Canada reported that Morneau had his elbow examined on his own. The 2014 NL batting champ said, “something didn’t feel right”. That examination led to the surgery.
Morneau played in only 49 games last season. He was sidelined May 13th with what was thought to be concussion-like symptoms. Morneau exited that game in the eighth inning in Anaheim after diving for a ball. He went 1-4. That was his last game action until September 4th. Morneau came back blazing in September. He hit .338 in 78 at-bats.
His power has decreased significantly in recent years. The Canadian has not hit more than 19 home runs since 2009 in Minnesota. He hit a home run only once every 56 at-bats last season. That ranked 29th in the National League out of 35 first baseman.
Per the Daily Herald’s Scot Gregor, Morneau will continue to take batting practice the rest of the week. He could be ready for a minor league rehab assignment next week. Morneau is targeting a return after the all-star game on July 12th.
Morneau will primarily be the designated hitter when he debuts for the White Sox. He will also give Jose Abreu a chance to take a day off or DH. His presence will be a welcome one. White Sox DH’s are hitting .248 with eight home runs and 34 RBIs. They accumulatively have a .332 on-base percentage, .391 slugging percentage, and a .724 on-base plus slugging (OPS).
The White Sox need Morneau’s left-handed bat. Adam Eaton is the only left-handed hitting regular in the White Sox lineup. Left fielder Melky Cabrera is a switch hitter and has given the White Sox some pop from the left side. He is hitting .286 with seven home runs and 28 RBIs from the left side.