Monday, May 16, 2011

Morneau showing leadership through the struggles

Morneau's swing starting to come back to form (Photo: AP)
At this point last season, Justin Morneau was setting a pace to earn his second American League Most Valuable Player Award. He was powering the Twins through a tough beginning of the season that would see them fight with the Tigers and White Sox at the top of the AL Central. His awful concussion in July of last year ended that run for the MVP.

This season has been a slow beginning for the slugging Canadian star. Justin Morneau has not been hitting the cover off the ball, an illness took double-digit pounds off of his frame, and his spot in the middle of the order has been questioned by some. Even with all of these struggles one thing has made him stand out above some other members of the Twins team.

Since returning from his illness, Morneau has been in the starting line-up everyday over the past 18 games. That is a great streak for the Twins and for Morneau. There was some question at the beginning of the season if Morneau was going to be able to play on an everyday basis. Morneau has gotten rid of those questions in recent weeks by being in the middle of the line-up at the beginning of every game.

The Twins have being fielding line-ups full of minor league talent as other players have fought their way back from injuries. Morneau has struggled to gain the weight back that he lost during his illness in mid-April, but that has not stopped him from playing everyday. He could take a day to rest his body but that is not what he wants to do. He wants to regain his MVP form and that is going to take hard work on and off the field.

You can see it in every pitch that Morneau just misses at the plate. The ball flies straight back to the back stop and he has that look in his eye, "I never missed that pitch before." Some of those balls are starting to straighten out. This weekend Morneau found a way to find some holes in the outfield and through the infield shift. The doubles are starting to pile up and there are glimpses of that former MVP.

Morneau Stat Line (Last 6 Games)
AB: 24
H: 8
BA: .333
2B: 4
RBI: 1
BB: 3

It has been obvious that there have been struggles this season for Morneau. But even through the struggles, he can find ways to show leadership to this team. A few hits here, a few doubles there, and Morneau will continue to be back on track in the number four spot. 

Right now he is the only MVP this team has and he is out there everyday showing his value to the Twins.

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