Notes : Long Chapter, Short Book

Tuesday, June 10 2003 @ 12:44 PM EDT

Contributed by: Craig B

A great chapter in Canadian baseball is beginning this week... Justin Morneau of New Westminster, BC was called up yesterday to the Minnesota Twins.

Morneau is coming up to replace Chris Gomez, who is going on the DL, but I don't think he's going to play much middle infield. Morneau creates an unholy logjam in Minnesota at first base, DH, and right field, with five players (Kielty, Morneau, Mientkiewicz, Mohr, and LeCroy) fighting over three spots... and Jacque Jones's leftfield spot should be in contention too. At any rate, Morneau is too good, too promising, to pass up for a team with a pretty good and pretty safe lead, but a mildly struggling offense. The Twins, awash in hitting talent, are nevertheless ninth in the AL in runs scored and tied for eighth in on-base percentage. Morneau might not help now, but he has a chance to be huge... and the one largest thing the Twins offense lacks is a hulking presence in the cleanup spot. GM Terry Ryan has said he hopes the move will be for good, and not just a temporary accommodation, leading one to believe that a trade may finally be in the works to land a proper second baseman in Minneapolis.

Another great chapter in Canadian baseball may be soon to begin... the Sacramento Bee says that Rich Harden may be in Oakland as early as next week.

Hideki Matsui still hasn't gotten the groundswell that I expect will push him, somewhat farcically, into the AL starting outfield for the All-Star Game. Matsui is 6th in the outfield voting with 206,653 votes, about 70,000 votes behind Torii Hunter for the coveted third place in the AL outfield race. I still think Matsui will start receiving an avalanche of support from parts various, sometime in the near future.

It appears that Sammy Sosa will be suspended during the Cubs' trip to Toronto this coming weekend. Sosa's appeal is expected to be heard today or Wednesday, and his revised suspension is very likely to be at least six games, and will start after the appeal decision, sure to be before the weekend.

I always love the "make-up" names on the All-Star ballot, the guys who have been waived, are in AAA, are hitting .135, or have been injured all year and have 13 plate appearances. Every year, I try to make one ballot with those names and submit it; if there's no one good, I try to formulate a good write-in in that category (but only where there's no good candidate on the ballot, and max two write-ins per ballot just like real life). But in almost every category, there's someone whose year has been bitterly awful.

Drum roll please for the Bizarro World All-Stars, 2003 Ballot (teams are as they appear on the ballot):


1B Paul Konerko, CWS 1B Mo Vaughn, NYM
2B Brandon Phillips, CLE 2B Brent Butler, COL (write-in)
SS Omar Infante, DET SS Julio Lugo, HOU
3B Ricky Gutierrez, CLE 3B Brandon Larson, CIN (my NL ROY pick!)
C Brandon Inge, DET C Michael Barrett, MON
OF Kevin Mench, TEX OF Jeffrey Hammonds, MIL
OF Gary Matthews, BAL OF Danny Bautista, ARI
OF Aaron Rowand, CWS OF Darren Bragg, ATL (write-in)
DH Dean Palmer, DET

I hope you all enjoy the release today from yesterday's baseball withdrawal symptoms. And one final thing... don't look now, but the Big Hurt is back.