Despite being out for over two months, the Twins aren't ready to give up on Justin Morneau returning to the team in time for the postseason.
The problem is, even if Morneau can return, he might not return to his impressive .345/.437/.618 line that had him in the driver's seat for the MVP after 81 games. The 2006 MVP had 18 homers and 56 RBI as well and was on his way to another monster season until suffering a concussion.
"You sit out for two months and all of a sudden you come back and start facing major league pitching right away -- it's not always easy to do," manager Ron Gardenhire told the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune , using Manny Ramirez's comments to apply to Morneau.
Ramirez, who had not delivered an extra-base hit or RBI for the White Sox until his second at-bat Friday (a home run), was talking about the difficulty of producing at the plate after missing two months to injury.
"There's some work ahead for Manny, and if Mornie were to decide he's ready to come out here and do some things, there's a lot of work to be done out here," Gardenhire added.
Morneau was at Target Field on Friday and reported feeling very good, so Gardenhire isn't ready to write off the first baseman's season, while also admitting the team doesn't have much experience in treating concussions or in prolonged absences of a player that returns just in time for the postseason.
"I honestly have no idea where we're at. We haven't had to deal with something like this," Gardenhire relayed. "[Michael] Cuddyer was as close as we got [in 2008]. Cuddy came back and played Game 163 [the one-game playoff game against the Tigers], when he had the broken foot two years ago. I have no idea. If it happens, we'll figure out something we can do, and if it works out, great."
-- Evan Brunell
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