Blog Entry

Twins still can't be sure about Morneau

Posted on: February 1, 2011 5:01 pm
Edited on: February 1, 2011 5:19 pm
When I was in Minnesota last August, I watched Justin Morneau bash balls out of the park in batting practice, and I wanted to know how soon he'd be back in the lineup.

The Twins couldn't tell me.

Now it's February, and I want to know when Justin Morneau will be back in the Twins lineup.

And the Twins still can't tell me.

"I have April 1 circled," general manager Bill Smith said Tuesday. "That's the day we're targeting."

That's opening day, and that sounds good.

But Smith also said that Morneau, who suffered a concussion last July, has not begun any baseball activities this winter. He called him "a work in progress," and he wouldn't come close to guaranteeing an opening day return for his All-Star first baseman.

"We have pledged patience, and we only want him to go when he's ready," Smith said. "If that's March 1, April 1 or July 1, that's what it will be. We only want him to go through this one time. We don't want this to become a roller coaster."

The Twins kept Morneau away from their fanfest over the weekend, a decision Smith said he made simply because he didn't want to do anything that might interrupt Morneau's workout regime. But that decision, and their strong interest in re-signing Thome, can also be taken as an indication of their uncertainty about Morneau's return (or about his return date, anyway).

It's understandable. From Morneau to Jason Bay, we know that baseball is still learning about concussions.

But it also leaves me wondering about whether the Twins got better this winter.

The White Sox did. The Tigers did.

The Twins? They kept Carl Pavano, and they kept Jim Thome, And if Morneau (who missed half of last season) and closer Joe Nathan (who missed the entire season after Tommy John surgery) both return, then Minnesota did improve.

If not, maybe not.

The news on Nathan is very encouraging. Smith said that not only is Nathan already throwing bullpens, but this past weekend he even started to throw breaking balls.

"He's very upbeat," Smith said. "That would be a huge boost to get him back, with him and Matt Capps late in games."


But when I was talking to another Twins person last week, he was asking the question of whether they'd improved to the point where they could finally beat the Yankees in the playoffs (assuming both get there). His answer was that when the Twins lost to the Yankees the last two Octobers, they didn't have Morneau either time.

They did great during the regular-season time Morneau missed in 2009, and again last year.

But to really believe in the Twins, you've got to believe Morneau will be back in the lineup.

And the Twins still can't tell me for sure when that will be.

Category: MLB

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: February 20, 2012 6:16 am

Twins still can't be sure about Morneau

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Twins still can't be sure about Morneau

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Twins still can't be sure about Morneau

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Twins still can't be sure about Morneau

Since: Nov 19, 2011
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Twins still can't be sure about Morneau

Since: Dec 2, 2011
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Twins still can't be sure about Morneau

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Since: Oct 21, 2011
Posted on: October 22, 2011 5:51 am
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Feb 2, 2011
Posted on: February 2, 2011 3:13 pm

Twins still can't be sure about Morneau

I think the reason that they are being EXTRA careful with Morneau is because he has had concussions before. I think i remember reading somewhere that this last one was his third. The twins are concerned with longevity here. We all want Morneau around for a long time to come, and if that means we have to sacrifice another half season to make sure that we aren't hurting him in the long run, than so be it. The Twins are very close to putting together the pieces for a world series run. Also, the Twins have shown a willingness to wheel-n-deal at the trade deadline and we all know that the al central is always close. The white sox and Tigers had to go out and get people because they placed 2nd and 3rd behind the Twins. Our bullpen is slightly weaker yes, but Jesse Crain and Matt Gurrier are not irreplaceable relievers, someone within the organization will step up, they always do. I think that because of our overabundance of starting pitchers (i'm also including the potential debut of Gibson) that some of these pitchers can be put in the bullpen. I think it's a toss up between the white sox and the twins and because for the past couple of years the twins have owned the sox in divisional play I'm going to have to give it to the twins. GOOD LUCK THIS YEAR! Can't wait till baseball starts, it's been too long!

Since: Jul 12, 2009
Posted on: February 2, 2011 10:02 am

Twins still can't be sure about Morneau

gvsulaker82... I think we can both agree that the AL Central is a toss up, but your reasoning behind your predictions are totally off base and untrue.  The Twins starting rotation had the best ERA in AL Central, and they had one of the best bullpens in the majors (including being better than the Chi Sox and the Tigers) when you look at ERA.  They also had the least amount of walks out of any MLB team.  The Tigers and White Sox rotations are thus worse than the Twins and would be worse off, not better off like you think.  The difference maker between the Twins, White Sox, and Tigers is the Twins offense.  Their offense last year was much better than the other teams in the AL Central.  The Tigers and White Sox have gotten some more bats, so we will see if that helps them out this year.  The White Sox, and Tigers' additions are the reason why I think that the AL Central is a toss up this year.  

Since: Mar 13, 2010
Posted on: February 2, 2011 8:15 am

Twins still can't be sure about Morneau

Makes you wonder about the NFL, doesn't it? The Twins rotation all hinges on Liriano. If he can stay strong the whole year, at least they'll have one power pitcher. You need power pitching to advance in the postseason. But, yeah, it looks like this is Boston's year.

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