Morneau stays behind as team heads for home

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 24, 2007 - 9:15 PM

The team didn't want to risk placing the league MVP and his bruised lung on a flight.

MIAMI -- Justin Morneau spent his third consecutive night in the hospital Sunday, while being monitored for a bruised right lung, and Twins General Manager Terry Ryan said it's too soon to tell when the first baseman will return to the field.

The Twins had hoped the American League's reigning Most Valuable Player would be ready to take the team flight to Minnesota following its 7-4 victory over the Florida Marlins.

But Morneau, who left Friday's game after a collision at home plate, remained at Memorial Hospital West in Pembroke Pines, Fla. A second chest X-ray was taken Sunday, and again it showed no broken bones, Ryan said.

Doctors are taking no chances, however, since Morneau coughed up blood on Friday.

"They don't want to have any complications when he gets on an airplane," Ryan said.

Ryan said Morneau probably would be released from the hospital today and cleared to fly home.

"There's nothing more here than meets the eye," Ryan said. "Everything is in order, the same as it was on Friday."

The Twins went 2-0 without Morneau this weekend, defeating the Marlins 11-1 on Saturday and 7-4 on Sunday.

Jeff Cirillo played both games at first base.

Teammates spent the weekend calling Morneau with encouragement. He is batting .278 with a team-high 20 home runs and 57 RBI.

"He says he's feeling fine," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He's been text messaging people, and he's feeling fine, but we're being very cautious here."

Morneau has been seen by a specialist, and the doctors have been in touch with the Twins medical staff.

For now, there are no plans to place Morneau on the 15-day disabled list. If the Twins need to make that move, they can backdate it to Saturday and would likely promote Class AAA first baseman Garrett Jones.

The Twins won't have a firm target date for Morneau's return until he leaves the hospital.

"It's way too premature for me to say," Ryan said. "It all depends upon how that young man feels. And I don't know that."

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