Last week the Twins called up first baseman- DH Justin Morneau from Triple A Rochester, and it was immediately clear that they had little intention of babying their prize hitting prospect. Facing major league pitching for the first time, the 22-year-old Morneau, who had only 37 games of experience above the Double A level, batted cleanup for the AL Central leaders and hit .350 with two RBIs in five games.
The 6'4", 225-pound Morneau had two of Minnesota's three hits in his debut (getting a standing ovation when he lined a single to center in his first at bat), and he went 3 for 4 and drove in a run the next night. In 57 games with Double A New Britain and Triple A Rochester this season the New Westminster, B.C., native hit a combined .309 with 19 homers (second most in the minor leagues at that point in the season).
One knock on Morneau is that he's still learning how to play first He was drafted by Minnesota as a catcher out of high school in 1999 but shifted to first base in his first full year in the minors. The Twins' Doug Mientkiewicz is one of the best fielding first basemen in the AL, but he has never hit more than 15 homers in a season. Mientkiewicz, who is up for salary arbitration after this season, worked out at third base last week, opening the door for Morneau to play some at first.
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