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Updated: April 27th, 2010 7:52pm
Morneau day-to-day after leaving game with stiff back

Morneau day-to-day after leaving game with stiff back

by Phil Mackey
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Twins first baseman Justin Morneau left tonight's game after three at-bats for precautionary reasons with a sore back.

Morneau struck out in all three trips to the plate against Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander.

Of course, Morneau missed the stretch run in 2009 with a back injury as well.

UPDATE: Morneau called his status "day-to-day right now" and manager Ron Gardenhire said, "It's not anything like what he had last year."

Still, anything with the back is scary for a hitter, and with a night-day combination coming Wednesday and Thursday, it'll be interesting to see how quickly Gardenhire is willing to put Morneau back into the lineup.

Michael Cuddyer probably is the most logical candidate to play first base if Morneau misses time, since Brendan Harris is playing third in place of Nick Punto (15-day DL, right hip flexor strain). Designated hitter Jim Thome played first base in his prime but at this stage is probably an emergency option only.

 -- Tom Pelissero

Phil Mackey is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd