Hartman: At least Morneau's concussion not an issue
- Article by: SID HARTMAN
- Star Tribune
- April 24, 2011 - 1:38 AM
Justin Morneau, who returned to the lineup Saturday for the first time since April 16 after missing the Twins' previous five games, delivered a big two-run single in the Twins' 10-3 victory over first-place Cleveland. He said missing several games because of the flu was hard on him, but as far as his concussion problems are concerned, he isn't having any problems.
"Nope, we do a little warm-up type stuff before the game, but other than that you know we haven't been too concerned with that," Morneau said Friday about whether or not he is still getting treatment for the concussion that knocked him out the final three months of last season. "Everything is going as expected, and [I'm] feeling more comfortable every day out there and thinking about it less and less every day."
When he came back from the concussion this spring, Morneau was wondering how he would feel at the plate against lefthanded pitchers because the ball is a little harder to pick up. He said he was still thinking about that Opening Day when he faced Toronto lefthander Ricky Romero.
"I felt really comfortable [that game], and after that, you kind of put trust in them, and know that it's a rare occasion that, you know, you get hit on the head, you only see it a few times a year," said Morneau, who was badly beaned in the head by lefthander Ron Villone in April 2005. "You trust that you have good instincts and reactions so you can get out of the way. I think if I get hit in the head, I'm in trouble either way, but hopefully the new helmet will give me a little extra protection in case something like that happens again, but hopefully we don't have to test it."
Morneau, who went 2-for-5 Saturday, is wearing the Rawlings S100 helmet this season, a bigger, bulkier helmet said to provide better protection.
Speaking about his poor start with the bat, he blamed some of it on having fewer at-bats than normal in spring training.
"I had a little bit of an abbreviated spring training, so I think it kind of got a few of us," he said. "You see [Michael Cuddyer] starting to swing it a little bit, Delmon [Young], a lot of us didn't really get as many at-bats or as many reps as we normally get in spring training; I think that may have affected us a little bit. Hopefully that's all behind us now, and we'll get some warmer weather and the bats will start heating up."
The Twins' record has been hurt by a couple of blown ninth-inning leads at Tampa Bay, games they lost that they typically win.
"Hopefully we'll move past this [slow start] and the rest of this will be behind the team," Morneau said. "We know we haven't hit it hard as a team yet. We have a long ways to go, and this is a lot of proven guys that are really capable of doing a lot better than what we've been doing."
With all of his health problems, there is one thing he really enjoys and that's being a father for the first time with his daughter, Evelyn.
"She's 7 months Saturday, so yeah, it's fun," he said. "It's fun to see. She's excited, dogs woke her up when I got home [from the recent road trip] and she was excited, she smiled when she saw me -- that was pretty awesome."Need more athletes
New Gophers football coach Jerry Kill didn't need to watch the spring game Saturday to discover what he has known since spring practice began: The team needs more and better athletes.
"We need more speed and more athleticism. That's something I've said from the beginning when I came in," he said. "And we just have to increase it. That's not going to happen overnight, and we will keep plugging along.
"We're going to have to utilize the talent that we have and I think we can. I think there are certainly some kids who can do some things, and we have to get them in the right place and keep them healthy, which is probably the biggest key. We'll also continue to emphasize speed when we recruit."
One thing in the Gophers' favor is their early schedule. After going to Southern California, they have three nonconference home games that they should not only win but be able to use to improve their skills, facing New Mexico State, Miami (Ohio) and North Dakota State. Big Ten play begins with games at Michigan and Purdue.Jottings
• The Vikings and Twins have one conflicting Sunday this fall when both are at home at the same time. On Sept. 18, the Vikings play Tampa Bay at noon while the Twins play Cleveland at 1:10 p.m. ... Through six home games, the Twins have averaged 38,839 fans per game to rank fifth in the major leagues and they are at 98 percent of capacity. Sunday's game with Cleveland is sold out, but there are good seats available for the series with Tampa Bay this week.
• Twins President Dave St. Peter reports that the MLB Network will soon announce that Game 7 of the 1991 World Series between the Twins and Braves has been named the second-greatest baseball game in the past 50 years. Series MVP Jack Morris and former Atlanta star pitcher John Smoltz recently sat down with MLB Network's Bob Costas to tape a television special recapping the Twins' 1-0, 10-inning victory. The famed Game 6 of the Reds-Red Sox 1975 World Series will be named the greatest game.
• Interlachen Country Club will present new Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven with the prestigious Bobby Jones Award on Monday night.
• Former Twins shortstop Orlando Cabrera, now playing second base for Cleveland, is a career .354 hitter in 49 games vs. the Twins. Saturday, he faced the Twins for the first time since leaving after the 2009 season.
• Nick Davidson is a 6-7, 300-pound tackle who has moved into the Eden Prairie High School district from North Carolina. The son of new Vikings offensive line coach Jeff Davidson, Nick is as nationally recruited as any recent football player with the Eagles. The Gophers are recruiting him hard, and a USC representative will visit him Tuesday. Asked where Davidson will play, Eden Prairie coach Mike Grant said with a smile, "Any place he wants to play."
• It's no surprise that center Colton Iverson transferred from the Gophers to Colorado State, where ex-North Dakota State coach Tim Miles is the coach and Niko Medved, a former Gophers assistant under Dan Monson, has the same job under Miles. Miles recruited Iverson hard before Iverson signed with Tubby Smith.
• J.D. Pride -- the former Gophers football star, whose son, J.D., has been moved from quarterback to receiver with the Gophers this spring -- is close to Seantrel Henderson, who played with his son at Cretin-Derham Hall. Pride Sr. reports Henderson is unhappy because he is running with the second team at the University of Miami, and this might result in Henderson transferring.
Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. • email@example.com
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