Photo - Aj Mansour (KFAN)
By: Aj Mansour | KFAN.com
Minneapolis, MN - The news in Minnesota is still fresh and the wound is still bleeding, but Twins fans received a gentle boost of morale Saturday afternoon after hearing that fan favorite Justin Morneau had indeed been traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for outfielder Alex Presley and a player to be named later.
Morneau, who has played his entire career with the Twins, had a special place in the hearts of many Minnesotans and as we learned today, Minnesota has a special place in his heart.
Below is a letter written by the former Twins first baseman that will run in tomorrow's Pioneer Press.
First of all, I would like to say thank you to all of the Twins fans. I would also like to thank the Minnesota Twins organization for giving me a chance to realize my dream of being a Major League baseball player. I was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in 1999. Since that day I have been very proud and fortunate to call myself a Minnesota Twin.
I was a wide-eyed 22 year kid when I made my big league debut in 2003. I received a warm welcome that day and have felt welcomed ever since. I feel like I was a kid when I first got here, but was able to grow up in this organization and become someone my friends and family could be proud of. My wife, kids and family are Minnesotans and this has become my second home. Minnesotans are some of the kindest, most genuine people I have ever met.
I am sorry that during my time here we weren't able to achieve our ultimate goal of winning the World Series, but I will forever carry many wonderful memories of my time here. I will always cherish every day I was lucky enough to play in front of you fans in a Minnesota uniform.
Thank you for all of your support throughout the years.
Your friend, Justin Morneau
By: Aj Mansour | KFAN.com
Minneapolis, MN - On a day where the Minnesota Vikings are prepared to dominate the news, the Minnesota Twins jump into the picture and drop a trade bomb that will reverberate through the Twin Cities for weeks to come.
MLB on Fox Reporter Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Pittsburgh Pirates and Minnesota Twins have agreed to a deal that will send Twins first baseman Justin Morneau to the pirates for AAA OF Alex Presley.
After struggling early this season, Morneau has heated up in late weeks and has hit 17 HRs with 74 RBI this season for the Twins.
UPDATE: Trade for Morneau also includes a player to be named later or cash. According the Pittsburgh GM, player to be named later is "significant."
By: Sam Ekstrom | KFAN.com
It looked like an easy coast to the finish on Wednesday with the Twins holding a four-run lead in the eighth inning. But a late bullpen implosion spoiled a big offensive day from Joe Mauer, and the Indians outlasted the Twins 9-8 in 12 innings.
Trailing 7-3 in the eighth inning, Michael Brantley hit an RBI single to bring the tying run to the plate. On the first pitch of the next at-bat, 42-year-old Jason Giambi cranked a clutch three-run homer off Casey Fien to tie the game at seven.
“I threw a cutter, left it up over the plate, right into his swing,” said Fien. “He’s a dead-pull hitter, and I missed my spot. Like I said, I’m a strike-thrower, but it wasn’t a quality strike.”
Said manager Ron Gardenhire, “He didn’t get the ball where he wanted to, and they kept jumping on him every time he made a mistake.”
Fien has now allowed three home runs over his last two outings.
Both teams homered in the 10th inning to extend the game. Carlos Santana led off the tenth with a homer against closer Glen Perkins to give Cleveland an 8-7 lead, but Joe Mauer lined a home run to left field – his fifth hit of the day – with one out in the bottom half. It was Mauer’s first career extra-inning home run.
“It was a long day, but I took a couple chances here and there,” said Mauer, who finished with four RBIs. “I was swinging pretty good today, and hopefully that will carry over.
“A heck of a game offensively,” said Gardenhire. “We’ve seen him have these five-hit performances before, but that was a real nice day swinging the bat.”
The clutch hit wound out being in vain, however, as Cleveland retook the lead in the 12th on a Michael Brantley sacrifice fly off Ryan Pressly (3-3). Mauer struck out to end the game in the bottom of the 12th to finish the contest 5-for-7.
It was Mauer who helped break the game open for the Twins before the Indians’ comeback. Mauer, DHing in the Wednesday matinee, singled home a run in the second inning to make it 4-0 against winless Indians’ starter Carlos Carrasco.
After Cleveland pulled within one run in the middle innings, Mauer delivered again to create some separation, driving in two runs with a bases-loaded knock to center field.
Each Twins’ starter recorded a hit in the game except left fielder Josh Willingham. Minnesota piled on early against Carrasco, notching seven hits through two innings, which included RBI singles from Dozier and Mauer and an RBI double from Oswaldo Arcia. Carrasco was pulled after allowing two men on in the fifth inning.
Meanwhile, Twins’ starter Kyle Gibson wasn’t as sharp as would’ve liked. The rookie was pulled midway through the sixth after allowing three runs on six hits.
Said Gibson, “My pitch count was still low enough that if I could have kept myself out of trouble, I would have gone into the seventh, and I was telling Andy on the bench afterwards, I would really just like to make it into the seventh and at least pitch through the sixth.”
The disappointing loss for the Twins drops them back to a dozen games under .500 (53-65). They’ll play a four-game set against Chicago beginning Thursday night.
NOTES: 1B Justin Morneau cleared waivers Wednesday and is now eligible to be traded to any team… Mauer’s five-hit game was the fifth of his career… The Twins were 6-for-13 with RISP after going 3-for-49 in their previous six games.