Lat issue shouldn't keep Morneau out long

Lat issue shouldn't keep Morneau out long

ST. LOUIS -- Rockies first baseman Justin Morneau's muscle discomfort in his left lat area kept him out of the lineup on Saturday, but he is not expected to miss much time.

The injury, which occurred during batting practice Friday and forced him from that night's loss to the Cardinals before the bottom of the sixth, was originally announced as an intercostal muscle strain, between the ribs. But head athletic trainer Keith Dugger said the problem was more toward the back. Either way, it's not major, Dugger said.

"It's not huge, not like oblique-type soreness, but we want to make sure he's right before he's back out there," Dugger said.

Morneau entered Saturday with a .315 batting average, which was second in the National League to the .318 mark held by the Pirates' Josh Harrison. If Morneau didn't play the rest of the year, he would still be eligible for the batting crown. Morneau has 507 plate appearances, five more than a player needs to be eligible over a 162-game season.

"Regardless of the batting title, we'd treat him the same," Dugger said.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.