- Associated Press - Friday, July 16, 2010

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Hoping to use the All-Star break as a slump-busting springboard, the Minnesota Twins must start the second half without Justin Morneau.

The big-swinging first baseman missed his fourth straight game on Thursday with a concussion and was placed on the 15-day disabled list after the 8-7 loss to the Chicago White Sox.

“It’s a lot better than it was, especially the last few days,” Morneau said before the game. “Woke up this morning feeling pretty good. We did 25 minutes on the elliptical and felt pretty good. But as the day has gone on, the plan was to try and come in and hit today. We decided not to do that with what we did this morning. Just not feeling that great.”

The Twins recalled righthander Jeff Manship from Triple-A Rochester to bolster their bullpen after starter Kevin Slowey lasted just three innings on Thursday night.

“He’s still feeling the effects, and we’re not going to take any chances,” manager Ron Gardenhire said.

Morneau said he felt some “fogginess” after his workout in the morning, a week after getting accidentally kneed in the head in Toronto by Blue Jays second baseman John McDonald while the slugger tried to break up a double play. Morneau, who has a history with concussions, hasn’t played since.

“It’s not registering right, and just walking around when that’s not right and trying to hit a 90 mph fastball makes it a little difficult,” Morneau said. “Just err on the side of caution with this and see what the plan is. Hopefully it keeps getting better. The good sign is that it keeps getting better every day. I think we’ve been handling it the right way and being pretty cautious with it. Hopefully when it’s time to come off we’ll be 100 percent ready to go, without any questions of what happens if I dive or what happens if I go in to break up a double play. You don’t want that while you’re playing. You just want to go out there and play and not have those thoughts and be able to be aggressive and do the things you need to do.”

Michael Cuddyer hit cleanup and played first in Morneau’s place on Thursday, after Morneau skipped the All-Star game to rest. He started the second half with the third-best batting average in the league at .345 to go with 18 home runs and 56 RBIs. He’s been playing sound defense at first, too, and the Twins _ who have won only 15 games since June 1 _ can’t afford to be without their burly Canadian for too long.

Cuddyer, who played extremely well in place of Morneau when he missed the last three weeks of last season with a back injury, went 0 for 4 with a walk in Morneau’s place.

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