Monday, January 24, 2011

The Morneau situation

Justin Morneau was hitting .345/
.437/.618 when he got hurt.
The treatment of concussions is at best an inexact science, which is part of why we all spent the second half of last season expecting Justin Morneau to return at any moment. Next week, next month, will he be ready in time for some at-bats in the minors, maybe he'd be able to pinch-hit in the postseason ... plenty of speculation but no real action.

As it transpired, Morneau experienced concussion symptoms well into the winter, and the speculation turned more toward: Is this Corey Koskie revisited? Koskie's career was short-circuited by concussions, and that was always the worst-case scenario. (Minnesota hockey fans also know that Pierre-Marc Bouchard of the Wild missed more than a season after a concussion.

But there's good news today: Morneau was told last week by the doctors to go full bore in in workouts and try to push through any symptoms. And all is well, according to general manager Bill Smith:

He said he pushed it, I think he said - this was Monday night - so he said on Friday he pushed it about as hard as he can in any workout and he didn’t have any problems.  And that’s a great thing for us. 

Indeed it is. The plan is for him to start taking batting practice Feb. 1 and be at training camp on time.

Meanwhile, the Twins have not only last season's Plan B -- Jason Kubel in right, Michael Cuddyer at first and Jim Thome getting the bulk of the DH at-bats --  on hand again, they have imported a couple of minor league first basemen who could step in, Jeff Bailey and Justin Huber.

The Twins would prefer not to have to lean on either, but they are now deeper at first base than they had been the previous two seasons -- two seasons in which Morneau was unavailable down the stretch.

1 comment:

  1. The good news is that both Huber and Bailey are right-handed, so if Morneau is hurt, then one of them could play first with Cuddyer in right and one of Kubel or Thome sitting against a lefty. Thome's back flared up right before the playoffs probably from overuse down the stretch while Morneau was out.