Morneau will sit in final series

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The Twins intend to shut down Justin Morneau (left, with hockey great Wayne Gretzky) for the final series of the season.

Photo: Chris Young, Associated Press

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TORONTO - The Twins intend to shut down Justin Morneau for the final series of the season.

Manager Ron Gardenhire said Morneau is worn down physically and mentally after a long season. The Twins believe he has done enough to distance himself from two seasons of concussion symptoms and various surgeries and should simply focus on going into what will be his first offseason without rehabilitation in a few years.

"If I have to use him I can put him out there, but if it's not a good situation, I'd rather not," Gardenhire said. "Let him finish it up here, watching. Maybe use him as pinch hitter. But he's been through a lot. We're not going to kill him anymore."

If he doesn't play again, Morneau will finish with a .267 batting average, 19 home runs and 77 RBI in his first full season since 2009. He also will finish with a 0-for-15 skid to end the year, which might have factored into the decision. But his wrist has bothered him on and off during the season, and indications are that it's affecting his swing now.

Morneau said the decision was made by Gardenhire to sit him down.

"Physically, I'm just not able to swing the bat the way I want to," Morneau said. "If I believed we had a better chance at winning if I was swinging the way I'm capable of, it would be a different story.

"I'm fighting for my life every time I swing. I don't think it's helpful to anyone to do that."

Morneau, from British Columbia, still was in demand Monday as he signed autographs before the game. he first baseman also chatted up hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, who threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Rogers Centre.

Willingham, too?

Morneau isn't the only one who might not play against the Blue Jays. Josh Willingham's sore shoulder won't let him reach to catch fly balls or finish off his swing. A shoulder injury suffered Sept. 24 against the Yankees is not healing fast enough.

"He's been day-to-day, and we're running out of days," General Manager Terry Ryan said.

Willingham is batting .260 with 35 homers and 110 RBI, both team highs. Gardenhire doesn't want to send Willingham into the field and risk him aggravating the injury heading into the offseason.

"In my opinion, he probably won't be out there," Gardenhire said. "I'm just guessing. I don't want to say he's out for the year because he hasn't told me he's out for the year and the trainers haven't told me he's out for the year."

In addition to Morneau and Willingham, Ryan Doumit missed Monday's game because of a sore thumb. Center fielder Denard Span didn't start but entered as a defensive replacement.

Etc.

 Ben Revere became the first Twins player to reach 40 stolen bases in a season since Chuck Knoblauch set the team record with 62 in 1997. Revere joined Knoblauch, Rod Carew and Cesar Tovar as Twins to reach 40 steals.

• Anthony Swarzak was named the starter for Tuesday's game. "We'll run him out there and however many innings we go with him, whatever it takes, we'll just ad-lib the rest of the way," Gardenhire said. In four starts, Swarzak 0-4 with an 8.35 ERA, although the righthander hasn't made a start for the Twins since May 25.

• Twins lefthander Scott Diamond grew up about 60 miles from Toronto, and friends and family from all over the region will pour in Wednesday to watch him start for the Twins in the season finale. "It's going to be pretty busy," he said.

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