Good signs following Morneau's surgery

  • Article by: LA VELLE E. NEAL , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 2, 2011 - 12:55 AM
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Justin Morneau

Photo: Mark Duncan, Associated Press

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The Twins got good news about Justin Morneau -- about as good as it can be for someone not expected back until August.

Morneau had surgery Wednesday to remove a herniated disk fragment from his neck -- with immediate results.

"[He] demonstrated an increase in strength, which they felt is a very good sign," Twins trainer Rick McWane said before Friday night's game against the Brewers. "He still has some numbness in his finger. It's a little bit better, but we expected that to take a little bit longer. The fact his strength has gotten better was a very encouraging sign."

Morneau can only do light activity for two weeks as soft tissue heals. Then he will need to have a couple of stitches removed from his neck. After that, he will be able to increase his activities as tolerated.

Morneau has been out since June 9 but had been battling a sore wrist shoulder and neck for weeks. It affected the first baseman's ability to hit, but he didn't want to leave the lineup. He finally agreed to have the surgery when he was told the lack of feeling in his fingers could be permanent.

He will not be at the ballpark this weekend as he recovers from the surgery.

Other injury updates

• Righthander Kevin Slowey (abdominal strain) will start on Tuesday for Class AAA Rochester. He should be able to throw 60-70 pitches as he builds his stamina.

• Outfielder Delmon Young (right ankle) took batting practice and ran on the field before the game. He will head to Rochester on Sunday to begin a minor league rehabilitation assignment.

• Outfielder Denard Span (concussion) worked out with the team on the field before the game but didn't take batting practice. The Twins hope he will take BP sometime this weekend.

Twins sign pitcher

The Twins have signed Taiwanese righthander Kuo-hua Lo. Lo, 18, has a fastball that's been clocked at 90-92 miles an hour and has touched 94 at times. He also throws a slider, split-fingered fastball and changeup.

He is considered one of the top high school pitching prospects in the country.

Etc.

• Former Gophers basketball player Kris Humphries threw out the first pitch before Friday's game. And, yes, fiancé Kim Kardashian attended the game as well. The two spent time in one of the Target Field suites during the rain delay.

• Trevor Plouffe, who has had two stints with the Twins as a shortstop, has been playing some second base, third base and outfield recently while at Rochester. "The more positions you play, the better chance you have at getting back to the big leagues," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He's been swinging the bat very, very well." On Friday, Plouffe hit a three-run homer, his 12th homer of the season.

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