Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.

Twins lose game, Morneau until August

Posted by: Phil Miller under Twins game coverage, On the road Updated: June 24, 2011 - 7:31 PM

Update: The Brewers rallied to beat the Twins 4-3 on a two-run double by Prince Fielder with two outs in the seventh inning. The hit came off reliever Jose Mijares, who fell behind Fielder 3-and-0 and then threw an inside fastball on a full-count pitch.

Come back to startribune.com later for more details.

MILWAUKEE -- Twins first baseman Justin Morneau will have surgery next Wednesday to relieve a pinched nerve in his neck, and is expected to be out until August the team said today.

Morneau, 30, was dealing with the neck issue before going on the DL with a strained left wrist. He was scheduled to have the cast removed today, and since he wasn't regaining strength as the Twins had hoped, they advised him to see a neck specialist who recommended the surgery.

"It’s a very non-invasive procedure that he’ll have to remove a herniated disk fragment from his neck, and he should be back playing full in six weeks," Twins trainer Rick McWane said.

"I want to emphasize this isn’t something [Morneau] was actively pursuing," McWane added. "It was his desire to try to fight through this, and as an organization -- our team doctors wanted to make sure it wasn’t going to jeopardize anything down the road.

"Even though the risk is small, there still is a risk that if he continued to play through this that his full strength would not come back, so we made the decision."

MAUER TO PLAY SOME FIRST BASE?

Manager Ron Gardenhire said he has advised Joe Mauer to get a first baseman's glove, to give the team another occasional option to fill in for Morneau. Gardenhire said Mauer is open to doing that.

"It’s just a casual conversation," Gardenhire said. "It was nothing in-depth, believe me, and he says he’ll do whatever it takes. That’s all I wanted."

* Jim Thome will take batting practice today and could be activated from the DL after the game. Gardenhire said he might want to keep three catchers, which led to the discussion about the possibility of giving Mauer some time at first base.

Denard Span (concussion) played catch and hit off the tee and felt no symptoms, so this was a good day for him. Also Jason Kubel had a good day running with his sprained left foot.

Quick fact: The Brewers are 26-11 at home and 15-24 on the road.

TWINS (32-41)

1. Ben Revere, CF
2. Alexi Casilla, 2B
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Michael Cuddyer, RF
5. Delmon Young, LF
6. Danny Valencia, 3B
7. Luke Hughes, 1B
8. Tsuyoshi Nishioka, SS
9. Scott Baker, RHP (5-4, 3.24 ERA)

BREWERS (41-35)

1. Rickie Weeks, 2B
2. Nyjer Morgan, CF
3. Ryan Braun, LF
4. Prince Fielder, 1B
5. Casey McGehee, 3B
6. Corey Hart, RF
7. Yuniesky Betancourt, SS
8. George Kottaras, C
9. Randy Wolf, LHP (5-4, 3.15 ERA)

Miller Park. First pitch: 7:10 p.m. TV: FSN. Twins Radio Network

 

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