While Justin Morneau still hopes to play again, the former Twins star is dealing with yet another injury.
Morneau is recovering from elbow surgery in December to repair a tendon and will not be able to swing a bat until June, the 2006 MVP wrote to the Star Tribune in an e-mail. It explains why the first baseman has remained out of the transaction wire while teams have made moves to fill their openings at first base. Even now, teams such as the Red Sox and White Sox could use first base help, but Morneau is in no position to provide it.
"I had left elbow surgery Dec. 22," he said in the e-mail. "I went into the offseason thinking what I had was just tendinitis. It was a problem that began last year in spring training and that I dealt with all year. I rested like I was supposed to and was optimistic it would be better by the time it needed to be.
" I do not blame the Rockies, as we did what we thought was right at the time with the information we had. Unfortunately, once teams starting calling in the offseason and things were moving along I didn't feel confident that I was getting better so I decided to go get it checked out again on my own. After a new MRI, surgery was recommended and that was the path we chose to take."
Morneau, 34, said he had hoped to find a club that would allow him to continue his rehabilitation, then return to the field. No such luck. He should be able to swing a bat in June if his recovery stays on track.
"As of now I will do the rehab on my own and see how I feel going through that process and will make a decision on my future at a later date," Morneau said. "I have not ruled out returning to play this year at some point."
Morneau hit .310 with three homers and 15 RBI in 49 games with the Rockies last season. His season went haywire May 13 when he dived for a ball during a game and the whiplash effect triggered concussion symptoms that sidelined him until Sept. 4. He did hit .338 with a .423 on-base percentage over the final 22 games.
Morneau made $11.75 million over two seasons with Colorado, which included winning the NL batting title with a .319 average in 2014. But the Rockies declined their end of a $9 million mutual option for 2016, instead giving Morneau a $750,000 buyout.
Morneau hit .278 with 221 home runs and 860 RBI in 11 seasons with the Twins. That includes the MVP year in 2006, when he hit .321 with 34 homers and 130 RBI.
He suffered two concussions while playing with the Twins, including one midway through the 2010 season that ended his year. Morneau was headed for a monster season that year, batting .345 with 18 homers and 56 RBI in 81 games when he was injured while sliding into second base in Toronto. He's only topped 18 homers in a season once since then.
Morneau has spent most of the offseason in his home in Arizona but was in the Twin Cities for the Wild-Blackhawks Stadium Series game in February.
One reason for the e-mail was to let those wondering about him know that he's not finished, just recovering.
"My 5-year-old daughter asked my wife the other day, 'Do you think Daddy is sad?' '' Morneau said. "My wife asked why and she responded, 'Because he doesn't get to play baseball anymore.' So my wife asked her if she liked watching Daddy play baseball and she responded, 'I like to watch him hit.'
"Her instincts are very good, because even my 5-year-old can see how much I love to hit and play the game. It has been difficult not going through spring training and looking forward to the season starting, but I have been able to spend a lot more time with my family, so this has been a bonus.
"I miss being around my teammates and going through the work that is involved preparing for a big league season, but I believe this will be something I will always miss.''