Justin Morneau is the Minnesota Twins' first baseman. The problem is over the past two seasons he only played 133 games at first—that's only 10 more games than he played at the position in all of 2009.
Between 2006 and 2008, Morneau was an iron man for the Twins. Over those three seasons he averaged 149.7 games at first, and in 2008 he appeared in all 163 games the team played.
Then came that fateful day in Toronto—July 7th, 2010.
The play was a routine slide into second base to break up a double play when Morneau took a knee to the head. He came out of the game and Michael Cuddyer would replace him at first base. He did not play again that season and has been struggling since to return to the form that had his name in consideration for a second American League MVP.
At the time he was leading the Twins with a .345 average, 18 home runs and 56 RBIs.
In a report from the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Morneau is feeling better than he has in quite some time. The problem is the results are not yet showing up in the box score. This spring he has the second most at-bats for the Twins with 37 through Friday, March 23rd. The problem is he is only hitting .108 with four hits in 12 games.
Manager Ron Gardenhire is not planning on playing Morneau at first over the remaining Grapefruit League schedule, opting to use the opportunity to assess what other options he has in case Morneau is unable to go come opening day.
Gardenhire's main option over the last two seasons to replace Morneau has been Cuddyer, who is now with the Colorado Rockies.
All is not lost. The Twins have plenty of options if needed, some that could even provide a boost to their lineup.
Here are the top five options.