After a month of waiting, MLB veteran Justin Morneau finally made his debut for the Chicago White Sox this week. The team signed Morneau last month in an effort to boost their offense, and to add an extra left-handed bat. Morneau had originally been rumored to join the Sox back in March after the sudden retirement of Adam LaRoche, but was unable to do so after undergoing elbow surgery in December of 2015. After Morneau was signed in June, the Sox placed him on the 15-day disabled list as he was still recovering from said surgery.
When he was healthy enough to play, the White Sox sent the 35-year-old down to Double-A Birmingham for some rehab games to get back into game shape. Morneau went 4-for-23 (.174 average) in eight games down in the minors before being added to the active roster towards the end of the All-Star Break. Morneau finally made his debut on Friday night. In a 7-0 loss to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Morneau came off the bench to pinch-hit for Avisail Garcia in the top of the eighth inning. He grounded out to second base.
“I believe I can help us win ball games,” Morneau said about being added to the White Sox active roster before Friday’s game. “Now is just the beginning.”
Morneau will get his chance to prove that he can help the Sox win games as he is expected to get the start as the designated hitter in game two against the Angels on Saturday night according to MLB.com.
“There’s only one way to really find out (if I’m 100-percent and that) is to get in the (batters) box in a big league game. I wouldn’t have told them I thought I was ready if I didn’t believe I was ready to come up here,” said Morneau about finally getting his chance.
It would definitely appear that Morneau is anxious to finally get on the field again. He’ll get a lot of at-bats in the DH slot but he’ll also fill-in at first base to give Jose Abreu some days off here and there.
“He’s ready to go right now. We said before we didn’t necessarily have a timetable for him, but over this break he felt he was ready,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura told the press recently.
The White Sox (45-44) are eight games behind the Cleveland Indians for first place in the American League Central Division, and they trail the Toronto Blue Jays by 4 1/2 games for the final Wild Card spot. Sox fans are hoping that Morneau can help the team climb back into the postseason picture and Morneau is eager to contribute.
“Now is just the beginning. Getting back here was difficult and now it’s the beginning of hopefully the good stuff.”