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Playoff Hate-watch

Other Baseball Today, 09:41 AM
Hi gang!     Had a whale of a busy August-September, so couldn't spend much time on the threads. But things now leveling o...
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Cubs Pitching Coach fired. Buddy of Molitor.

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 08:58 AM
Guess who was a Molitor teammate on the Brewers? Chris Bosio. He was just let go by the Cubs and Molitor looked at getting him on his sta...
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Article: Supplementing the Twins: Tyler Chatwood

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 08:00 AM
Continuing on with the Supplementing the Twins series, it’s time to take a look at another pitcher. Last week, the subject was Lance Lynn...
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Go get Verlander

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 06:55 AM
http://www.espn.com/...astros-audition   Best possible combination of help in 2017 and help in the next couple years, right where th...
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Twins to hire John Manuel

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 06:47 AM
Didn't see that coming.
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Healthy Morneau wants to win again

For the first time in several years, Minnesota Twins first baseman Justin Morneau has been able to enjoy an offseason free of concussion symptoms. “I feel good. I’ve been able to do everything I want to do. I feel strong. It’s a good feeling. I can use the cliché of ‘best I’ve ever felt’ or ‘Best shape of my life.’ I feel good. I have been able to do everything I’ve done in the past to help me prepare for the season.”

That’s the kind of news that Twins fans should be excited to hear. His season came to an end a few games early because of the recurring wrist issues he was having last season. “I started swinging after New Year’s, but I started working out, building up the strength gradually. I took about five weeks off.”[PRBREAK][/PRBREAK]
Attached Image: Justin Morneau.JPG

Morneau won the AL Most Valuable Player Award in 2006 when, as a 25-year-old, he hit .321/.375/.559 (.934) with 37 doubles, 34 homers and 130 RBI. In 2008, he played in all 163 Twins games and hit .300/.374/.499 (.873) with 47 doubles, 23 homers and 129 RBI. He finished second to the Red Sox Dustin Pedroia in AL MVP voting.

In 2010, Morneau was hitting .345/.437/.618 (1.055 OPS) with 25 doubles, 18 homers and 56 RBI. Unfortunately on July 7, he suffered the concussion that cost him the rest of the season. Its side effects lasted throughout the 2011 season.

Following a healthy offseason, Twins fans may hope that Morneau can return to those same MVP-caliber levels, but does Morneau think that he can be that productive again?

“I don’t see why not. I mean, I’m not 38 or 39 or 40. It’s something that I expect. I’m still young enough to produce and produce the way I expect myself to. I don’t feel like I’m too far off... I don’t see why I can’t get back to that point.”

In 2012, Morneau was able to play in 134 games and had 570 plate appearances, his most since 2008. He got off to a slow start in April, and then he really struggled in June after returning from the DL with the wrist injury. In July and August, he posted OPS of .848 and .850.
When asked whether he thought his season was a success, he replied, “I don’t know. What did we finish with, 96 losses or whatever? We finished last.”

When he was asked to discuss his personal success, he continued, “I’ve said it before, personal success doesn’t matter if the team doesn’t do well. I mean, I’m not ever happy just to play. Obviously getting out there is good, but you want to be successful. It’s a hard way to gauge it. Yes, I’m glad I got to play, but am I happy about the year? Definitely not. It’s one of those things. It’s good, but I expect more.”

With the Twins losing seasons and Morneau’s contract, his name came up frequently in trade rumors last July as well as during the offseason. Does he think about trade talks and where he might be late in the season if the Twins season is not a success?

“I’m not going to look on the negative side of it. I’d rather think that we’re adding players at the deadline at this point (rather) than trading anybody. So that stuff will be out of my control when it does come about. Whenever the deadline does come, it won’t really be up to me. So, hopefully we play well enough that we’re adding players and don’t have to worry about that.”

One thing Morneau is looking forward to is the World Baseball Classic and being healthy enough to play for his native Canada. “It should be fun. It’s always good to get together with the Canadian boys. It’s a good time. It’s a different experience. (Also) gives us a little break from spring training, which will be good too.”

Team USA is in the same bracket and will play Canada. Could Glen Perkins be brought in to face Morneau? “If he’s in the game, that means we’re either up or it’s close, so he’s in to face all nine left-handed hitters that we run up there.” (Morneau added that the Canadian team does have right-handed hitters Brett Lawrie and Russ Martin.)

Morneau is also excited to see what his Twins lineup can do this season.

“We’ll be deep. We’ll have (Trevor) Plouffe at seventh or eighth or wherever he’s hitting, and (Chris) Parmelee all year. Hopefully all the experience over the last couple of years will do him well. Left. Right. Left. Right. Pretty good balance, and power. It’ll be interesting to see, whoever is hitting leadoff, or if we move guys up in the order to not worry about the new 1-2 hitters. That’s Gardy’s job. I feel like we have a deep lineup with power. We have a chance, and that’s all you can ask for.”

Morneau is entering the final season of his six year, $80 million contract that he signed in January 2008. He and Michael Cuddyer had a joint press conference to announce their multi-year deals before Twins Fest that year. In his comments, it certainly appears that Morneau is not concerned heading into a contract year.

“I’m already pretty set in life. I’ve been through enough to know I love the game. I missed the game when I was away. I enjoy every day. It’s hard for me to look too far into the future. I try to take every day, every game and realize when something is taken away how much you miss it. That stuff will take care of itself. It’s out of my concern. My job is to play first base and help win games. The rest will happen when it happens.”

He understands the business side of the game as well. In his home, he has a picture of the 2006 Twins hanging. Recently, he was looking at it. “It’s amazing how many guys are still playing. When you win, it seems like you stick around for a while, like Cuddyer, (Matt) Guerrier, (Jesse) Crain and (Joe) Nathan and a bunch of guys. Pretty good turnover since then.”

“Hopefully we get back to winning and that’s really what we’re here for.”

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