Results tagged ‘ Justin Morneau ’

Morneau making progress but no games yet

By: Kelly Thesier/

BRADENTON, Fla. — Justin Morneau visited the doctor in Pittsburgh on Tuesday for what was a previously scheduled appointment but he still has yet to be cleared in games.

Morneau made it clear that he continues to make progress in his recovery from the concussion that he suffered on July 7 last year, but there is still no timetable for his return, he said.

“Everything’s still going good,” said Morneau. “It wasn’t like we’re going to run up [to the
doctor] if something happened. It was something already planned. It’s
been planned for a while.

“We’re going to continue what we’re doing, and when you see me in the
lineup, that’s when I’m cleared for games.  There’s no timetable,
there’s nothing. Test results — everything’s still improving. It’s not
all the way there yet, but it’s a lot closer than it was.”

Morneau said he’ll continue with the same workouts, which has included taking batting practice, facing live pitching and doing fielding drills like he has all spring.

“Pretty much everything except no game action,” Morneau said. “No activity
where I could be in danger, where there’s still a risk of injury.”

I’ll have more on Morneau later but here was the quick update for now.

Morneau update

By: Kelly Thesier/

In yesterday’s Twins Inbox, one of the questions I had received was about the health status of Justin Morneau and how he was progressing. I responded with what I had heard from Twins general manager Bill Smith this week in that Morneau was feeling better but hadn’t started to work out yet.

I got an email back today from Justin updating his status as well and wanted to share. Here is what he had to say:

“For the people that want to know how I’m doing, there is nothing really new to report. I’m feeling a lot better but I haven’t really done much so it’s still hard to tell. There’s no reason to start working out yet. Normally I would start my workouts between Nov. 1 and 15th so I’m not behind schedule at all. I expect to be ready and 100 percent well before Spring Training.”

It sounded like a positive update from Justin, just like I had received from Bill Smith, so I wanted to pass that along to everyone.

Mijares to undergo surgery; no timetable still for Morneau

By: Kelly Thesier/

MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins bullpen was dealt a blow on Friday when an MRI on Jose Mijares’ right knee revealed a torn meniscus and he’ll have to undergo surgery that will keep him out for about four weeks.

That’s still enough time for Mijares to possibly rejoin the team for the end of the season, but it will all depend on how long it takes for the left-hander to recover.Mijares suffered the injury while running to cover first base in the eighth inning of Wednesday’s 6-1 loss to the White Sox in Chicago.

Manager Ron Gardenhire said that without Mijares the club will rely more on left-hander Ron Mahay in a larger role. Glen Perkins will also give the Twins another lefty in the ‘pen in a couple days since he needed some rest after making a spot start for the club on Wednesday. But since Perkins has started all season, it will likely take him some time before he’s able to pitch on back-to-back days.

The Twins will likely explore the trade market to see if they can find any left-handed relief help. Players must first clear waivers before they can be traded or teams can work out deals with another team if they win a waiver claim on a player.

As for Justin Morneau, there is still no timetable for the first baseman’s return. Morneau, who has been working out most days at Target Field, continues to experience some symptoms from the concussion he suffered on July 7 and he has yet to go through a full day symptom-free. That’s something that must occur for multiple days before Morneau can be sent out on a Minor League rehab assignment.

Manager Ron Gardenhire said that the club will take things slowly and make sure that Morneau doesn’t try to rush back and risk suffering more setbacks.

Morneau likely headed to the DL

By: Kelly Thesier/

MINNEAPOLIS — Twins first baseman Justin Morneau said he is likely headed to the 15-day disabled list, after he tried to work out on Thursday morning but still felt some “fogginess” afterward.

Morneau, who has been out since suffering a concussion on Wed., July 7 in a game at Toronto, did say that he was encouraged by how he’s felt in recent days. He said that he’s been progressively feeling better before his slight setback and he’s encouraged by that.

But Morneau isn’t sure whether or not he’ll be ready to play in 3 or 4 days, so he thinks the club will likely make a move to put him on the DL to add another player as they face the White Sox this weekend. Morneau would be eligible to return from the DL on July 23.

“You don’t want the guys to play short-handed for too long,” Morneau said. “That’s where we are at today. Who knows if it will be good in 3-4 days but playing a big series like this you don’t want to be short-handed when you need that extra guy sometimes.”

Matt Tolbert (bruised right middle finger) is eligible to come off the DL on Friday so that will likely be the roster move.

O Canada: Monday morning camp tidbits

It was hard to miss the two Canada hats and the Canadian Olympic scarf hanging from the lockers of Justin Morneau and Rene Tosoni inside the Hammond Stadium clubhouse this morning.

When Morneau walked into the clubhouse after getting his photos taken for “Photo Day,” the New Westminster, British Columbia native wore a mile-wide smile on his face and even walked with a little strut following Canada’s 3-2 OT win over the U.S. in the Olympic gold medal game yesterday.

Morneau watched the game with his fellow Canadian, Tosoni, but they also let infielder Brendan Harris in on their Canadian-only viewing party because Morneau said that Harris is actually a hockey fan.

The first baseman said that he got quite a few text messages from his Twins teammates when the U.S. tied the game at 2 with 24.4 seconds remaining in regulation. But it only seemed to make Canada’s victory even sweeter for the Twins first baseman, who texted some of the members of the gold medal winning team after the game — Chris Pronger, Patrick Marleau, Brenden Morrow and Brent Seabrook.

“I thanked them for making my life a lot easier,” Morneau said with a laugh.

Today is photo day, so the workouts started a little later than usual.

Also, here are a few nuggets from yesterday that I didn’t get to blog.

— Left-hander Francisco Liriano impressed during his first round of live batting practice. His slider was sharp, as was his fastball at times. Danny Valencia, who cracked his bat on the first swing off Liriano, called one fastball down and away “unhittable.” Manager Ron Gardenhire was not on the same field as Liriano yesterday but said that all reports were that the pitcher was “pretty filthy.”

— Gardenhire did get a chance to see a few of the new pitchers on his field, including Clay Condrey and non-roster invitee Mike Maroth.Having watched Maroth for many years as he pitched against the Twins with Detroit, Gardenhire said he saw many of the same good things from the left-hander.

“The ball was really moving all over the place,” Gardenhire said of Maroth. “He’s working on a few different things with the grip and
location. In and out a little bit better. The ball was really good. It
was really nice. First day out there and I haven’t seen him throw ‘pens
or anything…the same guy I remember. The ball moving all over the
place. Pretty good.”

–Gardenhire also reiterated that Michael Cuddyer will be the backup at first base and likely will see time there when Justin Morneau gets a day off.  While Jacque Jones said he’d be willing to take grounders at first as he tries to make the club, even if it’s a long shot at best, Gardenhire didn’t seem so enthused by that idea.

“I don’t worry about Jacque in left, center or right,” Gardenhire
said. “I would worry about Jacque at first base. I haven’t seen that
part and I don’t really believe that’s part of his repertoire. Just
guessing. On the flip side, there is no doubt that he would take ground
balls at first base and be willing to do that.”

You can follow me on Twitter @kellythesier

Bring on the Hitters

By: Kelly Thesier/

Today marked the final day that only the Twins pitchers and catchers worked out. On Saturday the club will hold its first full squad workout and that means the annual team meeting will take place. It’s the time when manager Ron Gardenhire gives his speech to the team for the 2010 season.

Gardy was asked on Friday if the message was going to be pretty simple considering that expectations are high for his club in 2010.

“It’s the same every year. Our goal is to be consistent and try to win our division,” Gardenhire said. “If everything works out OK we should do just fine. Talking about it doesn’t get it done. It’s all about the work on the field and the games. Sure we have high expectations. Absolutely. I think I do and I think everybody should. We like our baseball team. We will see how it goes.

“The meeting tomorrow is about getting the work done. We have never rested on our laurels. We have never said that we are OK. We will continue to work our tails off and try to outwork everybody else.”

— As I wrote in a story for the website, Justin Morneau arrived to camp today. Surprisingly, though, there were no USA decorations in his locker when he showed up. I thought there would be since so many of his teammates seemed ready to trash talk about Team USA beating Canada in Olympic hockey last Sunday. The only gesture was that Brendan Harris put on a USA hockey hat and teased Morneau at his locker with it for a few minutes early in the morning.

So why no decorations?

“I think there probably was,” Morneau said. “Then they saw that Russia game and took them down.”

— The only position player who had not been spotted in the clubhouse by Friday afternoon was shortstop Estarlin De Los Santos. In addition to Morneau, outfielder Juan Portes also reported to camp on Friday.

— One sign that was spotted in a locker by day’s end was this “1st place Long and Mean: 55” by Joe Mauer’s stall. It was to celebrate that the catcher’s group won the charity golf tournament by shooting a 55 on the Long and Mean course at Fiddlesticks on Thursday afternoon. Mauer couldn’t resist putting it up.

“This is the first time I’ve won the thing,” Mauer said with a smile.

More tomorrow when pitchers start throwing live batting practice. It’s always a day of entertainment as the pitchers have a clear advantage over hitters early in camp.

Follow me on Twitter @kellythesier

Day 4: Time for a little golf

Every year during Spring Training the Twins host a charity golf tournament to benefit the Lee Memorial Regional Cancer Center. This year’s event took place on Thursday at the Fiddlesticks Country Club in Fort Myers.

I’ve been fortunate enough to be invited to participate in the event in each of the past four years and it’s a chance for me to not only get in a round of golf, but also to have some fun while raising money for a very good cause.

More than 30 Twins players and coaches hit the links on Thursday, including manager Ron Gardenhire, Joe Mauer, Joe Nathan, Michael Cuddyer, Carl Pavano, Nick Punto, and Matt Guerrier.

But the player who drew the most attention on the driving range before the tournament was Twins outfield prospect Aaron Hicks. The California native is a scratch golfer and was blasting drives past the end of the driving range — and mind you, they were straight shots that would land in the middle of the fairway. Other players such as Cuddyer gathered around to watch Hicks hit, and they were clearly impressed.

However it was Mauer’s foursome that took the top spot of the day, as they shot the lowest score of any group — 55.

Due to the golf tournament, Thursday’s workout was quick and the players were off the field a little earlier than usual.

That meant there wasn’t much news from the workout. Alexi Casilla was the one position player who reported to camp, leaving just three players — Justin Morneau, Estarlin De Los Santos and Juan Portes — missing. The buzz in camp is that Morneau is in Florida but just hasn’t attended a workout yet. For manager Ron Gardenhire, that’s actually a positive because it means that Morneau is listening to the advice that he needs to back off his excessive workload at Spring Training. The first baseman has often been one of the first position players to report and is at the complex nearly every morning by 7 a.m. to hit in the cages. Yet the team wants that to change a little this spring following Morneau’s back injury last year.

He knows he’s got a long spring training and a long
season. It’s good that he’s taking his time,” Gardenhire said. “He’s
not supposed to report until Friday and work out Saturday, and that’s
good. Stay away, it’s less stress on his back.”

Monday camp tidbits: Injury updates, tall pitchers and Team USA

By: Kelly Thesier/

Day 1 of Twins camp is in the books and it was the most beautiful day weather-wise since I arrived in Fort Myers, Fla. a little over a week ago. The sun was shining and temperatures were in the mid-70s for the first day of workouts for pitchers and catchers. Now that actual workouts are underway, it’s a good time to empty the notebook with some interesting tidbits and stories.

— The only injury concern currently in camp is pitcher Loek Van Mil, who is battling some soreness in his right shoulder. Van Mil is going to be limited to long toss for the next couple days so he won’t be throwing in the bullpen during that time.

— Catcher Jose Morales sat in the dugout bench on Field 5 and watched as pitchers and catchers stretched before the start of Monday’s workout. Morales’ right arm is still in a cast following surgery at the end of last month to stabilize a tendon in his wrist. Morales said that the cast is scheduled to come off in a week. The switch-hitter said he should be able to start swinging from the right side in about two weeks and the left side in about four.

— Infielder Nick Punto has not yet reported to camp, as position players don’t officially have to be here until Friday, but Twins general manager Bill Smith said that the team plans to take it easy with him early in camp. Punto underwent a cleanup surgery on his right wrist at the end of last month and had been expected to be ready to go on the first day of full squad workouts.  But Smith said there is no rush for Punto to be 100 percent.

“He’s such a high energy player. We’re just going to try to slow him down,” Smith said. “We’ll make sure we take out time. Opening Day is a long ways away.”

— When talking about Van Mil’s sore shoulder, manager Ron Gardenhire was asked what it’s like to have so many tall pitchers in camp this spring. Van Mil is 7-foot-1 and reliever Jon Rauch is 6-foot-11. The two pitchers weren’t in the same throwing group but everyone laughed at how Van Mil made one member of his group — Joe Nathan, who is 6-foot-4 — look short.

“I’m already prepping them on, if I come up to the mound they have to back off the mound so I can look at them eye to eye,” Gardenhire said with a laugh. “Too many guys I’m going to have to look up to on this staff.”

— There was one additional position player who reported to camp on Monday — outfielder Delmon Young. While Gardenhire was meeting with the media, Young stuck his head in the manager’s office to say hello. Young, who has dropped at least 30 pounds from last season, surprised his skipper by his new svelte look and it led to a humorous exchange.

“What happened brother? You go to a shrink machine?” Gardenhire joked with Young.

“[Carl] Pavano is on our staff,” Young said. “I need to catch the fly balls on the warning track.”

— Young wasn’t the only player that Gardenhire enjoyed teasing on Monday. Even though first baseman Justin Morneau has yet to report to camp, he wasn’t exempt from getting a few jabs from the manager.

Gardenhire said he was texting Morneau during the USA-Canada Olympic hockey game on Sunday night. The U.S. pulled off the upset, defeating Canada 5-3 and Gardenhire couldn’t miss out on the opportunity to get on British Columbia-native Morneau, who shares his Canadian pride with everyone.

“He’s catching a lot of heat,” Gardenhire said.

Morneau’s wife, Krista, is from Minnesota and the first baseman told Gardenhire that this was one of the times it was hard to be married to an American. But there will likely be some more ribbing awaiting Morneau when he arrives at camp, as many of his teammates were ready to continue the trash-talking about Team USA’s win. Morneau is rumored to be arriving to camp tomorrow so it’s possible that he could arrive to a little red, white and blue tribute in his locker. 

Twins 2009 Diamond Award Winners

The Twins announced the recipients of the 2009 Diamond Awards, which are voted upon by the Twin Cities Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Here are the winners:

  • Calvin R. Griffith Most Valuable Twin — Joe Mauer
  • Joseph W. Haynes Pitcher of the Year — Joe Nathan
  • Charles O. Johnson Most Improved Twin — Michael Cuddyer
  • Bill Boni Outstanding Rookie of the Year — Jose Mijares
  • Dick Siebert Upper Midwest Player of the Year — Mauer
  • Mike Augustin Media Good Guy Award — Denard Span
  • Bob Allison Leadership Award — Cuddyer

The Twins also select a few winners of their own, here they are:

  • Carl R. Pohlad Award for Community Service — Justin Morneau
  • Kirby Puckett Award for Alumni Community Service — Rod Carew
  • Sherry Robertson Award for Minor League Player of the Year — Ben Revere
  • Jim Rantz Award for Minor League Pitcher of the Year — David Bromberg

The awards will be given out at the Fifth Annual Diamond Awards Dinner, which will take place on Jan. 28, 2010, at the Hilton Minneapolis. The event will benefit brain, nerve and muscle disorders research at the University of Minnesota

Nathan, Morneau undergo minor clean-up surgeries

Twins closer Joe Nathan and first baseman Justin Morneau each underwent “clean-up” surgeries on Tuesday to have bone chips removed, general manager Bill Smith confirmed in an email on Thursday.

Nathan saw Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala. on Monday after team doctors recommended a minor clean-up to his right elbow. Andrews confirmed the recommendation and on Tuesday morning, Andrews performed the surgery to remove two bone chips from Nathan’s right elbow. Nathan is now back home in Knoxville, Tenn. and is expected to make a full recovery before Spring Training, Smith said.

Morneau had been bothered by a bone chip in his right wrist during the season. On Tuesday, Twins hand specialist Dr. Tom Verecka removed the chip and Morneau is also expected to be ready for the start of Spring Training.