Justin Morneau did it again to me. Since winning the AL MVP award in 2006, Morneau has made a name of himself as one of the premier power hitters in the game. Last year, Morneau had a stellar first half with 21 HRs, 70 RBI and a line of .311/.390/.575 but after slumping in the second part of the season he finally was diagnosed with a stress fracture in September and missed the rest of the season and playoffs. Of course I had Morneau last year in fantasy baseball and reaped the benefits for his first half spoils, but he was missing when it counted. Just like he was for the Twins.

Well this March when people were shying away from Morneau in fantasy drafts, there I was suckered in again by the numbers he put up when he was healthy. Hey, he was injured last year for the second half, he’s primed for a big year, I thought, especially in new Target Field. And for the first 81 games, I looked like a genius as Morneau tore the cover off the ball, hitting .345/.437/.618 with 18 home runs and 25 doubles. At one point, he was leading the AL in WAR and getting on base at a .500 pace for the first three months. He was on his way to one hell of a season. Until July 7th when he was suffered a concussion. He missed the All-Star game and has not played another game so far this season. And a repeat from last year, here I am in the fantasy playoffs without one of my top picks and legit hitters. Currently he’s in jeopardy of missing the playoffs again as there’s no timetable for his return with the Twins once again storm toward the playoffs.

Morneau has always been a notorious second half slumper throughout his career, but since signing his six-year deal with Minnesota, he’s now having a problem staying healthy. Whether it’s training or just plain bad luck, the guy can’t stay healthy and put together a solid second half. Which begs the question, if he’s not around for October when the Twins need him the most, what is he really worth?

Indians catching prospect has had an interesting couple of months in the big leagues. He made his ML debut on June 11 and has been hitting the ball fairly well for a rookie (.265/.404/.476) with 13 doubles and six homers in 45 games.

In his third career game, do you remember the play where Adam Dunn annihilated Santana at home plate when he didn’t see him coming? That was brutal. Fortunately for him that game, Santana was not seriously injured.

Well now this from Monday night in Boston. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.

If you watch that video and don’t immediately begin hurling obscenities left and right then you may have problems. Ryan Kalish and Santana meet at home plate on a violent collision that rips Santana’s knee/ankle apart. Early word is he’s out for the year with a torn ACL. Tough year, kid.

One weekend back from the All-Star break and we’ve seen some surprises already in the second half, including the Indians four-game sweep of the Tigers, the A’s are suddenly on a five-game winning streak and sitting at .500, the Pirates followed up a 17-hit performance with 19 hits on Sunday and it may be time to start believing in the Padres in the NL West. Let’s head into the weekly recap with some unfortunate sad news…

Don’t give me this ole’ bullshit!
“How would you like to manage the Cleveland Indians?”
“Aaaah, I dunno.”
“What do you mean you don’t know? This is a chance to manage in the big leagues.”
“Lemme think it over, will ya Charlie? I got a guy on the other line about some whitewalls. I’ll talk to you later.”

I’m laughing while the typing that conversation from the movie Major League. James Gammon, who played Indians manager Lou Brown in that classic movie, died at the age of 70 on Friday. He was one of the characters that made Major League the cult classic it is today. It’s hard to go to the ballpark without hearing someone quote a line or two from Major League (especially my friends). This is definitely some sad news this week.

Rays/Yankees
This weekend featured a crucial AL East showdown between the Rays and Yankees in Yankee Stadium where the Yanks won two-of-three to increase their division lead to three games over Tampa. The Rays are going to have to step it up if they are planning on giving New York a run for their money in the second half. The defending champs look ready to roll their way to 100 plus wins. Thankfully the Rays have plenty of games to catch up with 10 games remaining against the Yankees—seven of them in September. Then again if their starting pitcher looks like what showed up this weekend, they may be wishing they didn’t face the Bronx Bombers so frequently in the second half. Speaking of the Rays, Rocco Baldelli is back after turning in his suit from the front office job for a minor league contract. The story says Baldelli is finally healthy. Sure he is….

Stupid injuries. He did what?!
Within one week, Padres pitcher Mat Latos sneezed and ended up on the disabled list, Mariners slugger Russell Branyan bruised his toe when a coffee table fell on it in his hotel room at 5 a.m. and Yankees pitcher AJ Burnett cut his palms after slamming open a pair of wooden doors on his way to the showers and lied about it in the process. Excellent. The sneezing one is still the best with shades of Sammy Sosa. Look, I’ve never played professional baseball, but I’ve sneezed a couple thousand times in my life and never was injured from it. Unreal.

Questionable managing
Apparently I wasn’t the only one who questioned Joe Girardi’s decisions in the ninth inning of the All-Star game last Tuesday as Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports discusses the terrible non-moves.

The Angels and “Ran Fan”
The Halos are 3-1 since Scott O’Leary randomly picked them as his new franchise to root for in Major League Baseball. Read how Scott’s adventure landed in Anaheim.

And last, but certainly not least, the National League finally broke the streak and won the All-Star game last week! Get ready for a ton of trade talk and rumors all around the game in the next two weeks.

The Boston Red Sox started the following players in their starting lineup for Friday night’s game against the Rangers: Eric Patterson (only 144 total games over six years), Daniel Nava (27-year-old with career 25 ML games), Bill Hall (hasn’t played more than 130 games in a season since 2007), Kevin Cash (career .185 hitter) and Felix Doubront (three career appearances) was on the mound for Boston.

Who in the hell are these guys?

OK, Hall has actually had success in the majors, but the rest are either rookies or minor league journey men like Nava. I’m not sure how much how more this team can overcome. With their recent rash of injuries this year and the success of the Yankees and Rays, the Sox could be looking at their first year away from the playoffs since 2006.

Boston’s current disabled list reads like a solid All-Star roster that includes Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jeremy Hermida, Mike Lowell, Victor Martinez, Dustin Pedroia and Jason Varitek. Five former All-Stars…that’s difficult to get around for any team.

They promptly have started the second half 0-2 to the hands of Texas in Fenway, and I’m not sure how they can continue to stay in the AL East pennant race unless someone (besides Ortiz, Beltre and Youkilis) steps up majorly or they start getting healthy very soon. If they do end up making the playoffs, it could be an amazing accomplishment given their current lineup in mid-July.

Cue the memory bank for your list of funniest baseball injuries because Cubs slugger Derrek Lee was the latest victim when he was injured while eating in the clubhouse.

Yes, apparently he decided to eat while sitting down and the chair said “screw this” and collapsed. Awesome. Just another bit of evidence to add to the Cubs billy goat curse? Ugh, I’m sure some Cubs fans actually believe that is so. In all seriousness, I hope Lee is okay and won’t miss Opening Day and from what it sounds like is he will be just fine. As for the chair though, its seen better days.

Of course this injury will conjure up other infamous injuries such as Sammy Sosa’s sneeze that Big League Stew mentioned today. Also, who could forget Tigers reliever Joel Zumaya hurting his arm during a playoff run by playing too much Guitar Hero? Then he came back and was injured in 4-wheeler accident, seriously what’s next for this guy?

My favorite injury of all time though (sorry to go off the norm here and bring up football) was Thomas Jones breaking his hand… “answering the telephone.” That must have been one important phone call he had to get to. Honestly, couldn’t they make something up better than that? Just tell us he got drunk and fell down some stairs.