It is TwinsFest weekend at the old Metrodome, where fans get the chance to
see and buy all sorts of memorabilia, test their baseball skills, and actually
meet some of their on-field heroes. Approximately 60 former and
current Twins are scheduled to appear during the three-day gathering.
Justin Morneau is there hoping to be looked upon as a current and future Twins
star, not a relic.
After suffering the lingering effects of a concussion incurred in July
2010, Morneau's performance and health deteriorated. Following surgeries
to his neck, left knee, and right foot, the 6'4" 220 lb. first baseman
hoped to return to form in 2012. His left wrist, however, which was also
operated on in September of 2011to stabilize a tendon, continued to nag him
through the season. Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com had the opportunity to
speak to the former AL MVP.
Justin said his surgically repaired left wrist took a little time to
calm down after the season, but it has not bothered him since he started his off-season
regimen in early November.
Asked if this is the best he has felt in an off-season, Morneau's measured
response was "I feel strong, but I'm not going to use the cliché of 'It's
the best I've ever felt' or 'I'm in the best shape of my life' or
whatever," Morneau said. "But I feel good and feel like I have in the
past to help me prepare.”
Nearing his 32 birthday, Morneau feels he can once again produce like he did
from his award winning 2006 season until the concussion occurred in midseason
"It's something that I expect.
I'm still young enough to produce and to produce the way I expect myself
to", said the British Columbian Native. He expects to start that
production for Team Canada
in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
Still, Justin has been involved in trade rumors throughout the winter.
The Twins had been perennial playoff contenders since Morneaus' call up in
2003. However, they lost 99 and 96 games the last two seasons, and with
Morneau still needing to prove he can hit as before, they may consider
trading him while there are still offers to be had, either in spring training
or before the July trade deadline.
On that possibility, the four-time All-Star, entering the final year of his
contract ($14 million for 2013), said, "I'd rather think that we're
adding players at the deadline at this point than trading anybody.... Whenever
the deadline comes, that won't really be up to me. It's something where we're
hopefully playing well enough where we're adding players and don't even have to
think about that."
Morneau is a Twins fans' favorite... those TwinFest attendees are
hoping Justin's comments are prescient.
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