The Minnesota Twins' fading playoff hopes took another hit Tuesday when it was announced that All-Star first baseman Justin Morneau will miss the remainder of the season.
Morneau has been battling back pain for weeks, but a CT scan and an MRI on Monday revealed that he has a stress fracture in his lower back.
The injury doesn’t figure to require surgery. Rather doctors have told Morneau to rest the back for the next three months.
Morneau hurt himself on a headfirst slide into first base on Friday and hasn’t played since.
Prior to last week’s injury, the slugging first baseman had already been playing with pain off and on for quite some time. As a result, his performance has suffered mightily; Morneau was hitting just .077 in September to drop his season average to .274.
"You can play through the pain if you feel like you're helping the team or doing something to help your teammates out and win ballgames," Morneau said. "When you go out there and you don't feel like you're helping anyone, that's when you kind of take a step back and go, 'All right, maybe I'm doing more harm than good.' "
Despite his struggles of late, Morneau finishes the 2009 campaign with 30 home runs and 100 runs batted in.
Michael Cuddyer figures to become the primary first baseman in Morneau’s absence.
Despite the injury, Morneau remains upbeat about the Twins chances the rest of the way.
"Hopefully I'll watch the boys go on a run here and play cheerleader and that's about it," Morneau said.