Minnesota Twins slugger Justin Morneau was scheduled to play first base on Sunday afternoon in the series finale against the Cleveland Indians. However, he requested that he be placed in the designated hitter role instead due to soreness all over his body.
“He said he would rather DH today because he was feeling a little stiff,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said before Sunday’s contest, according to MinnesotaTwins.com. “But it was good because I would rather have Arcia out there playing [in the outfield] than at DH. And it moves Parmelee to first base. So it worked out.”
To accommodate Morneau, Gardenhire moved Oswaldo Arcia from designated hitter to right field and Chris Parmelee from the outfield to first base. The move paid off as Morneau went 1-for-4 at the plate with an important RBI in the top of the sixth inning. His single to right field with the bases loaded scored Jamey Carroll, who hit a single to begin the inning.
Sunday was the first time this season that Morneau had started as the designated hitter. Over the last three years (2010-12), Morneau has posted a .222 batting average with five home runs, 21 RBI, nine doubles and one triple in 185 at-bats in the designated hitter role.
The 31-year-old’s RBI on Sunday is more significant than the average fan may realize. It was Morneau’s 800th RBI of his 10-year career, which makes him only the fifth player in Twins franchise history to accomplish the rare feat. The other four players to do so are the legendary Harmon Killebrew, Kent Hrbek, Kirby Puckett and Tony Oliva.