Morneau to open season at DH

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Justin Morneau has yet to sit down with Twins manager Ron Gardenhire to talk about his role this season, but he confirmed this morning that he plans on starting the year as designated hitter.

Morneau, who hasn’t played first base since March 13, said he’s preparing to open the season at DH with Chris Parmelee starting at first base.

“The way it’s looking, with Parmelee making the team as a first baseman, I think it’s looking more toward DH than first base,” Morneau said. “It isn’t necessarily something that I want to do but it’s better in the long run in terms of being healthy and available to play every day. That’s the biggest thing right now. We’ll revisit it later in the season and see how everything has recovered, with all the various things I’ve been through.”

Morneau, though, said he doesn’t wanted to be locked into DH duties, as he hopes it’s only a temporary solution until he’s ready to play first base again.

“I feel relatively young in this game so I don’t plan on DHing for the rest of my career,” Morneau said. “I want to get back to playing first. Hopefully this is just the first step in that process.”

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. But he’s been healthy this spring, hitting .246 with three homers and four doubles in 18 games. He’s also batting .590 over his last seven games.


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