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Pirates acquire Morneau from Twins

The SportsXchange

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Pirates acquired first baseman Justin Morneau from the Minnesota Twins for outfielder Alex Presley on Saturday.

The Twins will also receive a player to be named later or cash.

"I'm pretty excited," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "I talked to Justin on his phone and he is excited and I talked to his former manager, Ron Gardenhire, on the phone and he's not excited, though he's happy for Justin to have this opportunity. Gardy spoke volumes about Justin's approach, intent and conviction to the game. We talked about (Morneau's) second half and how he's been moving forward and has put himself in a good place."

Morneau, 32, is batting .259 with a .741 OPS, 17 home runs and 74 RBI this season. He is a free agent at the end of the year.

Morneau cleared waivers earlier this month.

Hurdle said Morneau had mixed feelings about the trade.

"Justin's torn," he said. "He was one of the crown jewels of that organization but he's excited about having the opportunity to get back to the postseason because you never know how many of those opportunities will come around. I'm sure the adrenaline will kick in, though, when he catches that car at the airport, comes through the (Fort Pitt) tunnel, sees the blue lights of the ballpark and a packed house rocking the place tonight."

The move should give the Pirates offense some power and allows the them to move Garrett Jones to the outfield until Starling Marte returns from injury.

The busy Pirates also traded for outfielder Marlon Byrd and catcher John Buck of the New York Mets earlier in the week.

"We've been able to stretch (the lineup) out with impactful bats, with bats with experience, with bats who have gotten hits off good pitchers, both starters and relievers, and there is a lot of value in adding bats like that," Hurdle said.

General manager Neal Huntington said, "We're always a franchise that is going to have to keep one eye on the future, but we're in a position where we're ready to win now. I like that we've been able to bolster our chances now without giving up too much of the future. We've given up some good players in these trades but we've build our organizational depth up to the point where we can withstand the losses."

Minnesota gets Presley, who is batting .264 with two homers and four RBI in 72 at-bats this year.

Any player traded before midnight Saturday is eligible to play on a team's active postseason roster.

Despite entering Saturday tied with the St. Louis Cardinals for the National League Central Division lead, Pittsburgh is 10th in the NL in runs per game.

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