PITTSBURGH -- Rockies first baseman Justin Morneau is making one last attempt to make sure 2015 isn't a lost season. Unable to play in the Majors since May because of concussion symptoms and a cervical neck strain, Morneau underwent months of rehab, and on Friday, he finally began an injury rehab assignment at Double-A New Britain.
Morneau, 34, won the National League batting crown last year but has been limited to 27 games in 2015 (.290, three homers, nine RBIs). With Morneau near the end of a two-year contract that has a $9 million mutual option for 2016 (or a $750,000 buyout), Ben Paulsen and Kyle Parker appear to be a logical first-base platoon, but manager Walt Weiss said there is room for Morneau if he can make it back. Parker is playing left field while Corey Dickerson battles a broken rib.
Weiss said Morneau -- who notched one single in two at-bats Friday night -- will be evaluated Thursday for a possible return.
"It's a big deal for Justin," Weiss said. "It's been a long road, so I'm sure he's anxious to get back out there.
"We're going to do whatever Justin is comfortable doing. A lot of it is in his court, whether he wanted to try to get back out there this season. He wants to do that, so we're all in. We're going to do whatever we can for the guy. It's good that he's back out there playing again, real good."
Morneau has been generous in helping Paulsen grow during his first extended opportunity.
"He's been that way for everybody -- especially Ben because they play the same position, so he's been a great resource," Weiss said.
Also, Weiss said the Rockies haven't decided on whether Dickerson, who suffered the rib injury July 30 and before that was limited to 43 games because of two bouts with left foot plantar fasciitis, will return. Righty Kyle Kendrick, who hasn't pitched since Aug. 1 because of right shoulder inflammation, will throw a side session at PNC Park on Saturday.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.