DENVER -- A smile slowly crept onto Rockies manager Walt Weiss' face as he discussed something he hadn't done in quite a while. For the first time since May 13, Weiss wrote Justin Morneau's name on the Colorado lineup card.
Morneau, who had been out with concussion symptoms and a cervical neck strain, was activated from the 60-day disabled list before Friday's 2-1 win over the Giants. It didn't take long for the veteran to contribute, as he singled in his first at-bat in the first inning. He finished 1-for-4.
Matt McBride was designated for assignment in a corresponding move.
"Been a long road back," Weiss said. "Morneau has dealt with this a couple times in his career, and he's a guy who's had a great impact on this team, on the organization in a few short years. He still has the passion to play, and I think there will be a smile on his face when he takes the field tonight."
Although Morneau's return this season often looked doubtful, Weiss had been hinting for a week or so that the first baseman was on the brink of playing again in the Major Leagues. Morneau began a rehab assignment with Double-A New Britain on Aug. 28, and he hit .500 (9-for-18) with two homers and nine RBIs in five games.
Although tested, Morneau's ultimate objective never wavered.
"That was the goal all along -- to be able to run out there and finish the year," Morneau said. "I was honestly hoping it wasn't going to take as long as it did. It was a little frustrating to go through it, but to be able to go back out there and be a part of this lineup and hopefully finish strong, it's a good day."
Morneau, 34, is nearing the end of a two-year contract that has a $9 million mutual option for 2016 (or a $750,000 buyout), and the final month of the season could serve as an audition for the Rockies or other teams looking for a veteran presence.
Morneau said as of right now, he's playing with the goal of returning somewhere next season, but his focus hasn't completely shifted to the future.
"I think if I wanted to play next year, coming back this year is important just to show anybody that might be interested that I'm healthy enough to run out there and play," Morneau said. "When I get to that point, there will a be a long medical file that all the teams will have to look through anyways. There are some risks that are associated with that, but I'm not really trying to worry about that far ahead.
"Really, as cliché as it is, I'm just trying to enjoy today and just be happy that I get to play today."
• The Rockies also recalled utility man Rafael Ynoa from Triple-A Albuquerque. In 52 games with Colorado this season, Ynoa batted .225 with five RBIs.
Dargan Southard is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.