After a concussion and other maladies made this "a year to forget," he's hoping for a good start in Fort Myers.
The Twins officially shut down Justin Morneau for the season Sunday, marking the second year in a row they've done this because of his concussion symptoms. He's hoping this recovery goes much quicker.
Morneau, 30, hasn't played since Aug. 28, when he dived for a ball down the first-base line and landed awkwardly on his left shoulder. He didn't hit his head on the ground, but he jarred himself and felt a headache and fogginess the next day.
Morneau said his symptoms are more mild than they were one year ago and yet they haven't subsided.
"The test results show that the impact test wasn't back to normal, so there's a protocol to follow," he said. "Everything isn't regular yet. We're going to run out of time [this season], so there's no reason to try to push through it and have it linger like it did last offseason. I'll be able to have a regular winter of working out and doing things to prepare like I normally do."
Morneau, who dealt with a recent bout of the flu, also will have two minor surgeries Monday -- one to remove a cyst from his left knee and one to remove a bone spur from his right foot.
In late June, Morneau had surgery to relieve a pinched nerve in his neck, which was causing numbness in his left index finger and weakness in his left arm. He also played with a strained left wrist and finished the season batting .227 with four homers and 30 RBI in 69 games.
"It's been a year to forget, that's for sure," Morneau said. "I try to have a good perspective on it. I've visited the Children's Hospital plenty of times and seen sick kids, kids with cancer. There's a lot worse situations than me. I'm not able to play baseball, but I try to keep it in perspective. It's not life or death."
He also suffered concussions in 2005, when he was hit in the head with a pitch, and on July 7, 2010, when he was kneed in the head trying to break up a double play.
Morneau, who is being treated by Dr. Michael Collins, the same Pittsburgh specialist who treats concussed NHL star Sidney Crosby, said he plans to go through another round of extensive tests after the season.
Morneau has said he's willing to DH more next season, freeing up first base for Joe Mauer, if that helps keep them both in the lineup. If Morneau decides he wants to be a full-time DH, the Twins will need to know soon, since that could affect other offseason decisions.
"Is Morneau going to be healthy enough to play [first base]? Is he going to be a DH?" manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Those are things I have to talk to Justin about and see what's best to keep him on the field. So there's a lot up in the air this winter, a whole lot."
Morneau missed the final 78 games last season because of a concussion and wasn't cleared to play in spring training games until March 8.
Gardenhire grew weary last spring with doctors setting the playing time schedules for Morneau and Mauer, who was recovering from knee surgery.
"Hopefully, we'll get to spring training and it will be a go," Gardenhire said. "We won't have any doctors saying do this and do that. My biggest hope is I get to spring training, and I have control and I can prepare them for the season my way."
Morneau played in 11 official spring training games, going 5-for-33 (.152).
In a recent interview, Morneau said, "I think we've all learned a lot from this year, as far as how important spring training is, how important those at-bats are, how important just being able to play nine innings before you leave Florida and being ready to start the year."
|NY Mets - LP: J. Hefner||2||FINAL|
|Chicago Cubs - WP: S. Feldman||8|
|Seattle - LP: O. Perez||4||FINAL|
|Cleveland - WP: C. Perez||5|
|Toronto - LP: B. Morrow||2||FINAL|
|NY Yankees - WP: D. Phelps||7|
|Cincinnati - WP: B. Arroyo||10||FINAL|
|Philadelphia - LP: K. Kendrick||0|
|Chicago WSox - LP: N. Jones||9||FINAL|
|LA Angels - WP: R. Coello||12|
|Tampa Bay - WP: A. Torres||10||FINAL|
|Baltimore - LP: J. Johnson||6|
|Houston||1||Bottom 7th Inning|
|Los Angeles||1||Bottom 8th Inning|
|Boston||7||Bottom 5th Inning|
|Arizona - WP: B. McCarthy||1||FINAL|
|Miami - LP: T. Koehler||0|
|Milwaukee||4||Bottom 7th Inning|
|Detroit||2||Top 4th Inning|
|San Francisco||1||Top 5th Inning|
|Washington||0||Bottom 5th Inning|
|Kansas City||1||Top 2nd Inning|
|New York||47||3rd Qtr 11:46|
|Los Angeles||1||1st Prd 7:36|
|New England||0||2nd Half|
|FC Dallas||9:30 PM|