MLB Week

August 20, 2006

A scout's take

On Justin Morneau, Minnesota Twins' 25-year-old 1st baseman

Offense -- He's driving in runs now. He's much more aggressive at the plate. Before, he was always tentative with two strikes; he'd crawl into a shell and become a defensive hitter. He's willing to hit with two strikes now, and he's taking good swings. He's always had power to all fields, and now he is using it.

Defense -- The more he hits, the better he looks defensively. He is just one of those types. He is OK. His defense doesn't help them, and it doesn't hurt them. He's like [the Orioles'] Jay Gibbons in that manner.

Attitude -- The knock on him for a while was that he was a little soft, but that also has been part of the transformation for him. Apparently a lot of it was just gaining confidence in his abilities. He has that now.

Note -- "A scout's take" features one major league scout's opinion on a particular player each week. A revolving roundtable of scouts is used. Because of potential tampering, the scouts are anonymous.

Say what?

"That's the best 1-for-8 I've ever taken."

Arizona outfielder Luis Gonzalez on his offensive performance in the Diamondbacks' 2-1, 18-inning win at Colorado on Tuesday. Gonzalez was 0-for-7 before his run-scoring single in the 18th that gave Arizona the win in the longest game in Coors Field history (5 hours, 21 minutes).

Numbing number


The number of rookies the Cleveland Indians had on their 2006 Opening Day roster: catcher Kelly Shoppach. By the middle of August, there were 11 on the 25-man roster.

What's up?

Plenty of intrigue in the American League playoff race. The Chicago White Sox go to Detroit for four games beginning tomorrow and then host the Minnesota Twins for three. The Los Angeles Angels have a six-game homestand starting Tuesday with the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. Texas visits Oakland for three next weekend. In the National League, the New York Mets host the St. Louis Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies, while the Los Angeles Dodgers play in San Diego and Arizona.

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