Inside Pitch: Morneau Staying Put

In this edition of Twins Inside Pitch, Justin Morneau does not get the demotion, Bret Boone talks about his struggles, Juan Rincon files an appeal, and Manager Gardenhire serves his suspension...

The latest Twins stadium proposal, stalled in the state legislature, could die without a sure-to-pass vote if a second special session isn't called in September.

But regardless of the outcome, team president Dave St. Peter said the stadium issue won't affect short-term payroll issues, such as whether the Twins will have the flexibility to add a bat -- or two -- before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

"It's more of a long-term effect than a short-term effect," St. Peter told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, suggesting payroll levels starting next year could be affected if the projected opening of any new stadium is delayed beyond the 2009 target opening.

Owner Carl Pohlad has said general manager Terry Ryan can raise payroll from its current $57.5 million for the right deal.

And the team's needs are clearly identified, especially after opening the second half with seven losses in 12 games since the all-star break -- scoring two or fewer runs in six of the seven losses.

2B Bret Boone hasn't been the answer, so far, batting .195 since being acquired July 11 (6-for-41)

Team officials expect another move for hitting help before the deadline, possibly a deal with Boston that would involve 3B Bill Mueller, with a pitcher such as LHP J.C. Romero going to Boston -- or a deal with Boston involving multiple players going both directions.

"We need something," manager Ron Gardenhire said after Sunday's 5-2 loss to Detroit.

NOTES, QUOTES

  • Manager Ron Gardenhire mulled sending struggling 1B Justin Morneau to Triple-A Rochester when the team brought up RHP Scott Baker to pitch in a doubleheader Saturday, but OF Michael Ryan was sent to Rochester instead after Morneau showed signs of breaking out of his slump.

    "We're not going to mess with Morneau," Gardenhire said. "(Hitting coach) Scotty (Ullger) thinks that he's getting closer. We're going to eliminate him from the process."

    Morneau snapped an 0-for-21 skid with a single Thursday during a game in which he also walked three times, and he had two hits in the second game of the doubleheader Saturday.

  • RHP Juan Rincon, one of six players suspended this season under Major League Baseball's new steroid-testing policy, has a grievance hearing set for Tuesday in New York while the team is there. If successful, he will recoup lost service time and wages. Rincon has insisted he did not knowingly take any banned substance and if anything was misled when taking an apparently benign nutritional supplement.

  • The Twins' 10 runs in Thursday's victory matched their total run production in their previous four games combined and was their highest scoring output in a game since last month.

  • The 10-5 victory Thursday snapped a streak of eight straight one-run games for the Twins (4-4), their longest such streak since 1972.

  • Manager Ron Gardenhire was hit with a $1,000 fine and one-game suspension Thursday for inflammatory comments he made to reporters about umpire Hunter Wendelstedt after the July 18 game at the Metrodome. He chose to serve the suspension, his second in four seasons as manager, Thursday.

  • RF Jacque Jones' second straight walk-off hit for a victory Wednesday -- this time an opposite-field home run -- gave him five game-winners this season.

    BY THE NUMBERS: 50 = Percentage of games since the all-star break in which the Twin have scored two or fewer runs (six of 12 through Sunday).

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "Of course, I'm not happy where I am. I want to come over here and get two hits every night. We'll see. It's nothing that I'm really thinking about or worried about. All I can do is keep working and try to get back to where I've been. But it's nothing I can force. If you try to force it, you go backwards." -- 2B Bret Boone, on his 8-for-41 (.195) start as a Twin, a battle that began with an 0-for-10 skid and that includes no extra-base hits.


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