Morneau to sit six more weeks

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 25, 2011 - 1:39 AM

The Twins first baseman, already on the disabled list because of a wrist injury, is scheduled to have surgery on his neck.


Twins first baseman Justin Morneau

Photo: Kyndell Harkness, Star Tribune file

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

MILWAUKEE - Twins first baseman Justin Morneau will have surgery Wednesday to relieve a pinched nerve in his neck and isn't expected to return before August.

Morneau was dealing with the neck issue before going on the disabled list June 14 because of a strained left wrist. He was scheduled to have his cast removed Friday, but since he wasn't regaining strength as the Twins had hoped, they asked him to see a neck specialist, who recommended the surgery.

"It's a very noninvasive procedure that he'll have to remove a herniated disk fragment from his neck, and he should be back playing full in six weeks," Twins trainer Rick McWane said.

Since playing in all 163 Twins games in 2008, Morneau has had three frustrating years injury-wise. He missed the Twins' final 23 games in 2009, counting the postseason, because of a stress fracture in his lower back. He suffered a concussion last July 7 and missed the final 81 games, including the playoffs.

This year, Morneau played in 55 of the team's first 62 games, but even if he returned six weeks from Wednesday -- Aug. 10 -- this DL stretch will cost him about 50 games.

"It's unfortunate, but hopefully this is the last of all the stuff I'll have to go through," Morneau, 30, said in a conference call with reporters.

McWane stressed that Morneau wanted to avoid neck surgery but that the team urged him to see a specialist. The pinched nerve was causing weakness in Morneau's left arm and numbness in his left fingers. Morneau said he hasn't been able to feel his left index finger since the final week of spring training.

Morneau had two cortisone shots in his neck, one in April and one in May, but the numbness never went away.

The 2006 American League MVP found himself swinging with one arm, as he batted .225 with four homers and 21 RBI.

"I think the thing that kind of made the decision was hearing that it could be permanent -- the weakness in the arm and numbness in the fingers," Morneau said. "So hopefully the results will be good, and I'll be ready for August and September. And hopefully the boys keep playing well and I'm there for the pennant race instead of having to watch like I have for the last two years."

Morneau said he was feeling good about the progress he has made from the concussion he suffered sliding into second base at Toronto last summer. He still tires easily and still gets occasional headaches -- something that also happened before the concussion -- but he's thinking about the concussion less with each passing day.

If there's one blessing to this DL stint, it will distance him more from the concussion. He also kept the cast on his wrist, giving that injury more time to heal.

"It's kind of got me looking if there's anything I can do different in the offseason," Morneau said. "I'm trying to figure out if I'm doing something wrong, mechanically or in my training. Because as frustrating as it is for the fans who'd like to see this guy play, it's about a million times more frustrating for me."

Manager Ron Gardenhire said he had been hoping Morneau would get his cast removed Friday and be back in the lineup after four or five days.

"He'd been kind of a warrior for us up until he finally went out with this wrist thing," Gardenhire said. "So not very good news for us. We'll play and we'll do the best we can like we always do, but I feel bad for him more than anything."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


St. Louis 2
Pittsburgh 4 FINAL
Atlanta 2
Miami 7 FINAL
Washington 11
Detroit 4 FINAL
Philadelphia 4
Minnesota 6 FINAL
Baltimore 5
NY Yankees 7 FINAL
Houston 0
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Boston 3
Baltimore 4 FINAL
Toronto 2
Cincinnati 8 FINAL
LA Angels 6
Chicago Cubs 7 FINAL
Kansas City 0
Los Angeles 9 FINAL
San Francisco 11
Chicago WSox 4 FINAL
Cleveland 1
Milwaukee 0 FINAL
Oakland 7
Seattle 5 FINAL
San Diego 8
Texas 5 FINAL
Los Angeles 10
Colorado 11 FINAL
Arizona 10
Arizona 1 FINAL
Colorado 2
Houston 99 FINAL
Washington 91
LA Lakers 99 FINAL
Brooklyn 107
Minnesota 88 FINAL
New Orleans 110
Philadelphia 86 FINAL
Cleveland 87
Detroit 102 FINAL
Miami 109
LA Clippers 119 FINAL
Boston 106
Dallas 99 FINAL
Indiana 104
Memphis 89 FINAL
San Antonio 103
Oklahoma City 109 FINAL
Phoenix 97
Washington 5 FINAL
NY Rangers 2
Calgary 5 FINAL
Nashville 2
Boston 2 FINAL(OT)
Carolina 1
Detroit 4 FINAL
NY Islanders 5
Florida 4 FINAL
Ottawa 2
Anaheim 2 FINAL
New Jersey 1
Chicago 4 FINAL
Winnipeg 3
San Jose 2 FINAL(SO)
Pittsburgh 3
Michigan State 76 FINAL
Louisville 70
Gonzaga 52 FINAL
Duke 66
Philadelphia 0 FINAL
Chicago 1
Toronto FC 1 FINAL
Real Salt Lake 2
(7) Florida State 74 FINAL
(3) South Carolina 80
Villanova 70 FINAL
West Virginia 75
Michigan 69 FINAL
Southern Miss 60
Temple 69 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 57
Siena 50 FINAL
Louisiana 52
St Marys-CA 66 FINAL
(5) Baylor 68 FINAL
(2) Notre Dame 77
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: What are you following most closely right now?

Weekly Question