Twins put Canadian Justin Morneau on waivers
1st baseman a free agent after this season
Canadians are starting to dominate the baseball headlines in Minnesota.
The latest is first baseman Justin Morneau, whom the Twins placed on revocable waivers Tuesday, one day after pitcher Andrew Albers tossed a complete game against Cleveland in his second major league start.
Morneau, an impending free agent, has posted a .262 batting average and .319 on-base percentage in 431 at-bats this season but has heated up in August with six home runs and three doubles in 12 games.
Teams have 48 hours from the time the native of New Westminster, B.C., went on waivers to make a claim on him. The 48-hour claiming period is believed to expire Wednesday afternoon.
If someone puts in a claim, the Twins can only negotiate a trade with that team whereas they could deal Morneau to any of the 29 other clubs should he pass through waivers.
Morneau has 14 home runs and 67 RBIs in 110 games this season, a campaign similar to a year ago when he hit at a .267 clip with 19 homers and 77 RBIs.
From 2006 to 2009, Morneau was one of the most feared hitters in the major leagues, hitting .292 and averaging 30 home runs and 118 runs batted in.
Injury plagued seasons
But concussions and injuries to his wrist and neck derailed Morneau’s 2010 and 2011 campaigns.
Morneau, 32, has played his entire 11-year career with the Twins. He’s in the final season of a six-year, $80-million US contract he signed in January 2008 and is owed about $3.6 million for the balance of this season, so there’s a good chance the Twins wouldn’t get much in return for the 2006 American League MVP.
Prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, Morneau’s name was linked to the Pittsburgh Pirates, Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays.
Meanwhile, Albers shut out Kansas City for 8 1/3 innings in his major league debut on Aug. 7, four days after he was summoned from triple-A Rochester to replace another Canadian, left-hander Scott Diamond of Guelph, Ont.
On Monday night, Albers even more effective, tossing a complete-game, two-hit gem in Minnesota’s 3-0 victory over Cleveland.
The 27-year-old, who hails from North Battleford, Sask., has walked only one batter in 17 1/3 innings pitched but isn’t overpowering (four strikeouts).
Still, Albers was effective at triple-A this season, fashioning a 2.86 earned-run average, striking out 7.9 batters for every nine innings and inducing ground balls 49 per cent of the time.