Twins first baseman Justin Morneau on Tuesday made his first appearance in the clubhouse since having a herniated disk fragment removed from his neck last Wednesday.
So far, there's less numbness in his fingers and less pain down his arm than before the surgery. He expects both to eventually go away, especially as he regains range of motion.
"So it's going good,'' he said. "Still a ways away unfortunately, but it's getting better.''
He will rest for another 10-14 days, then slowly begin some baseball activities. He's not expected to return until mid-August.
"Right now, I'm hopeful it'll be earlier August than later August, but that's a long ways away,'' he said. "They said six weeks, could be a little longer, could be a little bit shorter.''
But there's no doubt in his mind that he will return this season.
"Oh yeah, that's why we did it,'' he said. "Play hopefully last month and a half, close to two months, be healthy and go into offseason healthy, hopefully be healthy for the playoffs, that was the goal."
Morneau will have a couple of stitches removed from his neck Wednesday.
Span feels better
Outfielder Denard Span (concussion) took early batting practice with teammates on Tuesday and is beginning to feel like his old self.
In fact, Span will travel with the team to Chicago for the four-game series later this week. He's not being activated. The club wants to make sure he can handle air travel and workout routines before he takes the next step in his recovery.
"We want him to work out with the team,'' Twins trainer Rick McWane said, "be out there, moving around.''
Morneau, who missed half of last season because of a concussion, has given Span plenty of advice.
"I've talked to him quite a bit,'' Morneau said. "I told him it's better to have a couple good days than have one good day and all of a sudden try to do more and you go backwards.
"Have to be patient with it. Obviously been pretty frustrating for him, try to be here as much as I can. I've put him in touch with some pretty good doctors and some people who can help him.''
• Outfielder Delmon Young (right ankle) homered for Class AAA Rochester on Tuesday in the first game of a doubleheader. Young, who's expected to return right after the All-Star break, was the designated hitter in both games.
• Trevor Plouffe, who has played four infield positions and the outfield since returning to Rochester on June 3, homered twice in the first game and once in the second game.
• Outfielder Jason Kubel (left foot sprain) had an MRI exam before Tuesday's game. The Twins were waiting for the results.
• Paul Emmel, the plate umpire Monday who was hit on the right kneecap with a chunk of Joe Mauer's bat, did not work Tuesday's game. He was replaced by Chris Conroy.