Morneau optimistic, but concerned about concussion symptoms

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Twins first baseman Justin Morneau talked with reporters this morning, and said that he’s optimistic about staying healthy this year, but also said he’s still concerned about the concussion symptoms that have plagued him for the last two seasons.

Morneau, 30, played in just 69 games last year after battling concussion symptoms and undergoing surgeries on his neck, left wrist, left knee and right foot.

Morneau, who suffered the initial concussion in July 2010, said he hasn’t felt any symptoms since January, and that he hopes to get through the season without any setbacks. But he also was blunt when asked if he’d try to continue playing if the concussion symptoms don’t go away.

“I don’t think there will be a career if it’s something I’m dealing with,” Morneau said. “That’s the reality of the whole thing. I’m obviously not going to continue to mess around with this if it continues to be a problem. There comes a point where you can only torture yourself for so long. It’s something I love to do but you keep preparing and you keep being left out, that’s something that nobody wants to go through.

“It’s been a tough winter that way. I try not to think about that kind of stuff. Obviously it’s crossed my mind and it’s something I’ve had to think about but when that stuff comes into my mind I continue to look for something positive, and look how far I’ve come in the last week or in the last month and just hope it continues to go well.”

But he also expressed optimism for the upcoming season, saying his knee and foot are fully healed and his wrist is at about 100 percent. He still has numbness in his left index finger from the neck surgery, but said it doesn’t affect his swing.

He’s participating in full workouts right from the start but said he’ll take it easy in the early going with the goal of staying healthy entering the season.

“I’m expecting to have a good year,” Morneau said. “I wouldn’t put all the work in. I started the rehab in October and have been going pretty much since then, everything with the goal of having a healthy season and doing what I’m capable of doing. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t believe that was a possibility or the case. I wouldn’t have put all that work in. Obviously I’ve done everything I can, so I’ll see how it goes, but I’m here to help this team win and to drive in runs and hit fourth and do the things I feel like I’m capable of doing.”

Check back at Twinsbaseball.com later today for the full story.

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