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  • What do we make of Justin Morneau's quotes?

    ďThere comes a point when you can only torture yourself so long.Ē

    Those are the words of Justin Morneau (courtesy Phil Mackey of 1500espn on Twitter), uttered just this morning while speaking to reporters for the first time since reporting yesterday to Hammond Stadium in Ft. Myers. Today the Twins will hold their first full squad workout of spring training.

    Mackey tweeted Morneauís quotes, ďI donít know if I can be a full, 100 percent go, but Iím going to go out there and participate in everything and take it day by day.Ē The quotes are pretty straight-forward. Clearly, Morneau is not completely past concussion symptoms (not a surprise, I don't think). To me, it sounds like he is a guy who has decided to just go all-out until he canít again. Itís like a pitcher with some elbow soreness who decides that he is just going to air-it-out on his bullpen sessions until it either feels better or snaps.

    There has never been any question about Justin Morneauís toughness or his willingness to play with pain. It sounds like he has worked hard and is in good shape. But concussions are not something with which one messes around. Morneau has a young family and is just 30 years old. He has, hopefully, another 60 years left on this earth to spend with them, so it is understandable that he wants to be able to enjoy those years.

    At the same time, Morneau came in on Thursday and took a full round of batting practice. He said he is going to work out with the team today. He sounds like he is feeling good right now, but based on what he has experienced the last couple of years, he doesnít know how he will feel tomorrow, or next week or sometime next month. Morneau sounds like a man who is ready to take that retirement step should he go through another concussion. And frankly, I donít blame him at all. Baseball is a great game. We all love the Twins. Morneau was an MVP who led this team through several very good years. We all appreciate that. He has earned enough money already that his familyís needs will be met.

    I've said throughout the offseason that I thought anything the Twins got from Morneau in 2012 should be considered a bonus, and my opinion doesn't change based on these quotes. I certainly am hopefully he can be close to what he was in his best days. But donít give up on Justin Morneau and the Twins just yet. Letís see how this plays out. For now, heís ready to go, excited for spring and hopeful for another strong season. Thatís what Twins fans should hope for. He also clearly has had some very difficult discussions with himself and those close to him and is realistic as well.
    This article was originally published in blog: What do we make of Justin Morneau's quotes? started by Seth Stohs
    Comments 55 Comments
    1. Mr. Ed's Avatar
      Mr. Ed -
      What a slippery slope he's on. How hard should he go after that ground ball? Should he dive? Should he let it go, allowing a run to score?

      Or try taking that extra base?

      Very difficult situation he's in. I wish him the best.

      Hopefully the Twins take it easier on him than he will on himself. Take it slow!
    1. Loosey's Avatar
      Loosey -
      I personally think he has come to grips with his concussion situation. Right now it sounds like Morneau and the doctors have symptoms under control but he knows that if he gets hit in the head or issues persist it might be time to hang 'em up. I think he has prepared himself for the worst but is hoping along with the rest of us that he is going to be something close to the Morneau of the past.
    1. John Bonnes's Avatar
      John Bonnes -
      These quotes scare the hell out of me. I hope they scare the hell out of the Twins. For the love of god, get a backup plan beyond pushing Parmelee.
    1. scottz's Avatar
      scottz -
      In the Star Trib article addressing the same thing, Morneau is quoted as saying, "Everything has been pretty good since January, I'd say." It is February now. I'm pretty sure that in January somewhere on the Caravan, he said that everything had been pretty good since December. So, he's having concussion symptoms every month. Which means he hasn't been symptom-free...maybe ever since the last one. It sure looks like he's going the way of Koskie. Sad.
    1. jameshenke78's Avatar
      jameshenke78 -
      I'm not a neurologist, but considering the length of time he's been struggling with these symptoms, I just don't envision him having a complete recovery at this point. I'm reading into these quotes a bit but retirement is definitely an option for him. So my question is, how would his retirement affect the payroll for this year and next? I assume his salary would be taken off the books and that gives us 14 million for this year and next. What moves would the Twins consider if retirement occurs?
    1. John Bonnes's Avatar
      John Bonnes -
      The question that I'm not sure it totally being answered is: is he healthy now? If so (and I think that's what may be lost in all of this) then the message should be: "I'm great and ready to go, except possibly for the wrist which is still at 90%. But if I get another concussion, and it's hard to come back from again, I'm probably done."

      If that's the message, I think we all would be thinking "Yeah, that's kind of what we figured." But I don't know if that is the message that is coming across.

      I also shook my head when, like last year, we heard that he doesn't need to be healthy until Opening Day. That's never a good sign.
    1. Parker Hageman's Avatar
      Parker Hageman -
      Not to be negative, but you kind of hope that if the concussion symptoms are going to manifest, that you want them to do so in spring training rather than during the season. That way, the Twins will be able to collect more insurance on his salary and likely be able to spend it on a replacement at some point.
    1. John Bonnes's Avatar
      John Bonnes -
      Quote Originally Posted by jameshenke78 View Post
      I'm not a neurologist, but considering the length of time he's been struggling with these symptoms, I just don't envision him having a complete recovery at this point. I'm reading into these quotes a bit but retirement is definitely an option for him. So my question is, how would his retirement affect the payroll for this year and next? I assume his salary would be taken off the books and that gives us 14 million for this year and next. What moves would the Twins consider if retirement occurs?
      To be honest, I don't know. He may not retire. He might go on the DL and not come back. If so, the Twins might get some of that salary back from insurance, but not get all that money back. Or I supposed a deal could be worked out.
    1. denarded's Avatar
      denarded -
      Not good, And a little late for a backup plan for this season. How did the Twins not recognize that a problem in January was probably going to be a problem in February? I can't wait for a month of "Mauer to 1b" gnashing
    1. John Bonnes's Avatar
      John Bonnes -
      This is no way he plays first base full time now, right? They'll play it safe and have him be the designated hitter. I know that's not a lot safer, but what is the upside of having him at first?
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      Quote Originally Posted by John Bonnes View Post
      This is no way he plays first base full time now, right? They'll play it safe and have him be the designated hitter. I know that's not a lot safer, but what is the upside of having him at first?
      Yeah, that's what I'd think. Still, I'd probably bet he retires before the season ends.
    1. jameshenke78's Avatar
      jameshenke78 -
      I completely agree with you John. There's no way he plays first regularly this year. The ripples of this are not insignificant....does that slot Mauer as the starter at 1b? He can't be thrilled about that because he wants to catch. Does Doumit become the starter at 1b? he's played only 34 games there through 7 seasons. Does this mean more Butera catching? I sure hope not.
    1. Cody Christie's Avatar
      Cody Christie -
      These quotes are very scary. I hope they are just some frustration out of Morneau and that everything will turn out fine. He is in camp and hopefully he can get back into a rhythm with the club. Maybe this can all be a thing of the past but I doubt it at this point.
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      CF Span
      SS Carroll
      C Mauer
      DH Morneau
      RF Willingham
      1B Parmelee
      3B Valencia
      2B Casilla
      LF Benson

      If the team does that, instead of using 1B as a committee thing, it pushs Doumit to the bench and probably prevents Gardy with going with 3 catchers. (Bench - Hughes, Doumit, Plouffe, Nishi)
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Still too early to tell... Let's see him play some games and see how he plays and then we can figure it out. As a reminder, last spring training he played only 4 games and was hitless in 10 PAs. Still got a month and a half to see in what shape he is.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by gunnarthor View Post
      CF Span
      SS Carroll
      C Mauer
      DH Morneau
      RF Willingham
      1B Parmelee
      3B Valencia
      2B Casilla
      LF Benson

      If the team does that, instead of using 1B as a committee thing, it pushs Doumit to the bench and probably prevents Gardy with going with 3 catchers. (Bench - Hughes, Doumit, Plouffe, Nishi)
      I think that if Morneau is not the 1B, Aaron Bates will probably make the team instead of Parmelee and will split time there with Doumit and Luke Hughes... There is no way you keep Doumit on the bench and start Parmelee and Parmelee needs to play every day (thus he will do that in Rochester)
    1. JB_Iowa's Avatar
      JB_Iowa -
      I don't know what to think about this. Are the doctors telling him that he is "healthy" and free to go all out but he is simply unable to trust his body (and his mind). Or is he having recurring symptoms that the doctors recognize as concussion-related but not endangering his health?

      I suppose that there is a chance that repeated "good" days in practice will alleviate his fears enough so that he can still function as a major league ballplayer but that seems a longshot. I wish him all the best. At this point, it seems like he is fighting a battle on two fronts -- his actual concussion symptoms and what he perceives as concussion symptoms. While I don't think that is unusual, it does sound as though the latter may be Justin's biggest enemy.
    1. kirbyelway's Avatar
      kirbyelway -
      I would only DH him. They need his stick in the lineup.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Doumit and Mauer would likely play most of the time at 1B. Parmelee and Benson most likely won't make the big league Opening Day roster... maybe in June. Revere will be in LF.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Derrek Lee. For the love of God, Derrek Lee.
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