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Updated: April 23rd, 2011 10:07am
Justin Morneau returns to lineup; Delmon Young back on Tuesday?

Justin Morneau returns to lineup; Delmon Young back on Tuesday?

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Justin Morneau is back. Again.

Out the past five games with a bad case of the flu, the Minnesota Twins' first baseman was in the lineup as the first baseman and cleanup hitter for Saturday's game against Cleveland.

"He's only taken BP (Friday) and then one day in Baltimore," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "So, could be interesting. But he came in (Saturday) all fired up and ready to go, said he feels good. "

Morneau recently received a cortisone shot in his neck to relieve vertebrae inflammation, too. But he told Gardenhire after Friday's rainout he wanted to be in the lineup if he felt good again on Saturday morning, and after an early arrival, Morneau pronounced himself fit to play.

"There's really not many options here," Gardenhire said. "We're not going to send him down on a rehab (assignment), and he's got to play sometime. He's got to get back in the lineup sometime, and I leave that up to the player to tell me when he can play, and the trainers tell me he's fine as long as he got through the flu bug and started eating. You just leave it up to the player."

Morneau hadn't played since last Saturday, when he fell ill in Tampa Bay. After missing part of spring training as a precaution while recovering from the concussion that ended his 2010 season, Morneau entered Saturday's game hitting .208 (11-for-53) with five doubles, no home runs and three RBIs.

Gardenhire speculated before the game that left fielder Delmon Young could rejoin the lineup on Sunday as well. But after a discussion with Young, who also had been battling the flu, Gardenhire said the plan is to wait until Monday's off day.

"Delmon was swinging about 80 percent (in the batting cage on Saturday) and I think we'll give him another day," Gardenhire said. "That's what he kind of told me, and then Tuesday, should be ready to go."

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Tom | @TomPelissero | Tom Pelissero
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