Justin Morneau doubled home three runs on Monday, and it wouldn't have happened if he wasn't Canadian. With the bases loaded in the fourth inning, Morneau pounded a Jeanmar Gomez fastball into the left-center field gap, driving home Jamey Carroll, Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham. That, and a tie-breaking eighth-inning RBI double by Morneau's replacement, Chris Colabello, were the big hits in Minnesota's first win of the spring, 5-4 over Pittsburgh in Hammond Stadium. That Morneau was even in the lineup is a credit to Morneau's patriotism, because playing back-to-back games is unheard of for veterans like him. But the former MVP is in final preparations for next month's World Baseball Classic, where he will represent his Canadian homeland against Italy, Mexico and the United States in the first round. "Mentally, I'm a little more prepared right now, because I know I have big games coming up in a week," said Morneau, who in his first at-bat lined a rocket that Pirates first baseman, and ex-Twin, Garrett Jones turned into a double play. "Six innings yesterday, five innings today -- it's a lot. .... But it's very important to be ready when we go there and play playoff-type baseball for your country."
Morneau hits his stride early in Florida
Minneapolis Star Tribune | Feb 26