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Updated: August 14th, 2013 3:45pm
Notebook: Morneau's clearance of waivers opens up Twins' trade options

Notebook: Morneau's clearance of waivers opens up Twins' trade options

by Brandon Warne
1500ESPN.com
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MINNEAPOLIS -- News broke Wednesday afternoon that Minnesota Twins first baseman Justin Morneau had cleared trade waivers. In other words, the other 29 teams in the major leagues passed on making a claim on the 32-year-old first baseman.

This doesn't necessarily mean that there is no interest in Morneau as a commodity, but rather just that competing teams likely didn't want the risk of being saddled with the rest of the slugger's prorated $14 million salary had the Twins simply handed the keys over.

Morneau clearing waivers makes matters a lot less complicated. Now, he can be freely dealt to any of the other 29 teams, with only compensation and how much, if any, of Morneau's contract the Twins would pick up keeping a deal from happening.

Morneau must be traded by Aug. 31 to be eligible for any team's postseason roster.

Colabello adjusting to RF

Chris Colabello started his eighth game in right field on Wednesday. Overall, that puts Colabello at 10 games played in right, a new career record for the Assumption College product in terms of games played in a season in the outfield.

Colabello said he's starting to feel a bit more comfortable out in right. "I feel like every day it gets a little better," Colabello noting that he didn't play the outfield at all in 2012, and had only played 10 games as a pro outfielder -- all in Independent league ball -- prior to this season.

He also added he's not trying to be a game-breaker out there: "I'm not trying to be spectacular, but just make the routine plays."

The biggest adjustment for Colabello is making reads on batted balls his way, which is something he works with third base and outfield coach Scott Ullger on each day.

"I think understanding how to break to balls, and the spin on the balls," he said. "When I used to coach my college kids, I'd tell them at the end of the day just catch the baseball and you'll be OK. I didn't catch the ball the other day in Chicago. Everything you do in this game, the main priority is to try to get better every day."

Ultimately, Colabello concluded, he's willing to do just about anything the Twins ask of him. "Whatever it takes for this team, this organization, I'm willing to do it to extend my tenure here."

Manager Ron Gardenhire said that while he doesn't envision Colabello as a regular in the outfield, he's certainly a capable fill-in.

"I don't know if you can turn him into a total right fielder, but I think he works hard enough that he can make himself serviceable," Gardenhire said. "He's actually been pretty decent out there, with the exception of the play in Chicago where he didn't really reach out and get it."

Ultimately, Gardenhire just wants to find ways to get Colabello into the lineup. Since going 2 for 16 in his first run with the Twins (.125/.125/.125), Colabello has hit .238/.333/.444, including a scorching August batting line of .269/.424/.583.

"I like to see him get some swings," Gardenhire said. "We're trying to find ways to get him in the lineup. The preference would be to get him in at first base or DH, but he's OK (out in right)."

Gardenhire conceded that Colabello, just like all players learning a new position at the highest level, does have his limitations. "He doesn't have the speed or the actions to be out there full-time," Gardenhire admitted. "His arm is OK; it's average. Maybe a bit below if you look at him compared to other right fielders."

But for a team that may lose 90 games for the third-straight season, and one who has permitted Ryan Doumit to see a considerable chunk of time in right field, it certainly can't hurt to experiment a bit.

Who's Hot, Who's Not -- August Edition

Here's a peek at the Twins who have had hot or cold stretches here in the month of August (stats through Tuesday's games):

Who's Hot

OF Oswaldo Arcia - .298/.353/.660, .429 wOBA, 4 HR (51 PA)
2B Brian Dozier - .304/.365/.661, .428 wOBA, 3 HR (63 PA)
1B-RF Chris Colabello - .269/.424/.538, .419 wOBA, 21.2% BB rate (33 PA)
1B Justin Morneau - .268/.293/.643, .398 wOBA, 6 HR (58 PA)
P Andrew Albers - 2-0, 0.00 ERA, 2.75 FIP (17.1 IP)
RPs Brian Duensing/Anthony Swarzak/Jared Burton/Josh Roenicke/Jamey Carroll - 0 ER (27 IP)
RP Casey Fien - 5 appearances, 8 strikeouts , 1.44 FIP (4.2 IP)

Who's Not

SS Pedro Florimon - .050/.095/.050, .075 wOBA, 1 H/20 AB (22 PA)
IF Doug Bernier - .136/.240/.136, .168 wOBA (27 PA)
3B Trevor Plouffe - .129/.270/.226, .240 wOBA (37 PA)
C-OF Chris Herrmann - .083/.290/.208, .252 wOBA (31 PA)
C Joe Mauer - .190/.286/.286, .253 wOBA (49 PA)
CF Clete Thomas - .186/.300/.279, .270 wOBA (51 PA)
SP Kyle Gibson - 3 starts, 6.43 ERA, 1.9 HR/9 (14 IP)
SP Kevin Correia - 2 starts, 6.00 ERA (9 IP)
SP Samuel Deduno - 3 starts, 0-2 record, 5.09 ERA

Brandon Warne covers the Minnesota Twins for 1500ESPN.com. He has also contributed as a baseball analyst for Fangraphs.com and BaseballProspectus.com
Email Brandon | @Brandon_Warne
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