Interest in Morneau grows as trade deadline nears


– When Justin Morneau hit a home run in the seventh inning of the Twins’ 4-0 victory over the Mariners on Saturday, it might have intrigued a few teams looking for a bat before Wednesday’s non-waiver trade deadline.

One team that likely took notice is Baltimore, because the Orioles have one of their top scouts at Safeco Field for the series.

The Baltimore Sun reported on Saturday that the Orioles have had preliminary talks with the Twins about Morneau, who is in the final year of his contract and would be a two-month rental for a contender. The Orioles, however, might be reluctant to take on a lot of salary and don’t have many trade chips in terms of prospects. The Orioles also are looking for bullpen help and another starting pitcher. The Twins could match up with Baltimore for relief help, too, with Brian Duensing and Jared Burton drawing interest from teams.

Baltimore has All-Star Chris Davis at first base but have a hole at designated hitter, where 26-year-old Cuban rookie Henry Urrutia is being used. That’s where Morneau would fit in.

Twins General Manager Terry Ryan spent Saturday in his office at Target Field, working the phones to see if any deals can be made.

Diamond looks for sink

Lefthander Scott Diamond has thrown mostly a cut fastball during his brief major league career. It helped him go 12-9 last season.

This year has been rough one for Diamond. He’s getting hit, and part of the reason might be because opponents have become used to the cutter.

So Diamond is incorporating a sinking fastball into his repertoire. His start Friday was the second outing in which he’s used the pitch. The sink was noticeable as he held Seattle to one run over 6⅔ innings on five hits and one walk.

“We’ve been talking about it,” Diamond said. “It’s still a lot of work in progress. But it’s to develop my game a little bit.”

Diamond said he and pitching coach Rick Anderson knew he’d eventually have to add one.

“We didn’t think we’d need it this early but we knew it was the next pitch to develop,” Diamond said. “It’s come in and has blossomed a little bit. But I’ve got to keep working with it.”

Colabello gets ball

Chris Colabello on Friday successfully bartered with a family to get the ball he hit for his first major league home run, a two-run shot in the 13th inning that gave the Twins a 3-2 victory. The family was brought to the entrance of the visitors’ clubhouse, where the exchange was made.

“The little girl, I felt so bad, she looked like she was crying,” Colabello said. “Mom said she was upset she was going to have to give the ball away. I said, ‘I’ll give you whatever you want if you give me that baseball.’ ”

So, for two autographed baseballs and two caps, Colabello acquired the memento.

“It’s pretty special,” he said. “My parents have swarms of stuff, but this one is going to hold a special place. This one and the first hit in the big leagues will definitely be up top.”

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