Morneau placed on DL with neck strain

Morneau placed on DL with neck strain

DENVER -- The neck stiffness that Rockies first baseman Justin Morneau has battled off and on all season finally got the best of him Monday as the team placed him on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to July 14.

Morneau missed the entire series against the Pirates this past weekend with the same injury. He had initially hoped to return for Sunday's series finale, but the Rockies ultimately decided to play it safe.

"We had some time on our side, being able to make it retroactive before the break, so it made sense at this point," manager Walt Weiss said.

Weiss expects Morneau to return in "about a week," around when he's first eligible on July 29. He also confirmed that Morneau's current neck injury isn't related to the neck surgery he underwent in 2011 to remove a herniated disk fragment.

"We're always cautious with [Morneau] when it comes to his neck," Weiss said. "But it's not exactly the same thing."

Morneau first began experiencing this neck stiffness in Spring Training. It also flared up briefly earlier in the season, but it hasn't stopped the former MVP from experiencing a career resurgence in his first season with the Rockies.

After signing a two-year deal worth $12.5 million with Colorado this past offseason, Morneau has totaled a team-high 60 RBIs and 20 doubles over 89 games. He's also hitting .312 over 333 at-bats, good for the fifth-highest average in the National League.

The Rockies called up first baseman Ben Paulsen to take Morneau's place on the roster and designated right-hander Jair Jurrjens in a corresponding move to make room on the 40-man roster.

Cody Ulm is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.