Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 9/13/12

Justin Morneau is starting to hit as if he's healthy, but it's not that simple.

The Minnesota Twins first baseman is hitting .320 with eight home runs and 37 RBI in 54 games, all starts, since the All-Star break. His 119 games this season are far more than he played in 2010 (81) and 2011 (69). But he while he said Wednesday, "There are guys in here in worse shape than I am," he also acknowledged he's still fighting the left wrist ailment that has bothered him for nearly two years.

Morneau, 31, had surgery to stabilize a tendon in the wrist last September, and he spent the first half of May on the disabled list because of what the team called standard post-op soreness. However, asked if he were "done" with the injury, Morneau laughed.

"It'll be done after about six weeks off this winter," he said.

Morneau does believe, though, that it eventually will heal. When it does, the 2006 AL MVP should have an offseason without limitations for the first time in years. He had his 2010 and 2011 seasons ended because of concussions, and he's had surgery to repair nerve damage in his neck, not to mention standard cleanouts of his knee and foot.

Next spring, he'll enter the final year of a contract that will pay him $15 million in 2013.

"My goal is to get stronger and not have anything be an issue (in spring training)," he said. "That's probably what I'm looking forward to the most this winter, is just having a regular winter: working out and getting stronger and just feeling good going into spring training instead of going in and wondering what it's going to be like.

"The last three years I've gone in wondering how my body is going to react instead of just feeling prepared. The worst thing as an athlete you can do is not feel like you've prepared and put the work in and whatever you need to do. (Preparing) just puts you in a mental state of mind you need to be in to play at a high level. When you're able to do that, it makes a difference. It gives you some kind of edge."

Morneau went 0-for-3 with two walks Wednesday in the Twins' 10-5 loss to the Kansas City Royals.

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