Gardenhire weighs options for Morneau


Twins first baseman Justin Morneau

Photo: Jonathan Daniel, Associated Press

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Twins first baseman Justin Morneau, when he was shut down for the season in September because of concussion symptoms and other ailments, expressed a willingness to DH more in 2012. That very well could happen.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, during an appearance on ESPN 1500AM on Wednesday, said he wants to decide sooner than later if the former MVP will play at first base or be the DH.

''One of the things Terry [Ryan, the Twins' GM] and I talked about is making sure before we get too deep in this thing [is] what were going to do with Morny," Gardenhire said. ''Where he is going to play, if it is DH, if it is first base. Morny has to eventually tell us what's right for him or I'll make the decision for him and we will go from there. If he can't decide and we talk to the doctors and they give me information where I think the best thing for him to do is to DH and protect him as much as possible, then that is what we will do.

''First thing, you talk to Morny and let him do the doctor things and go from there."

Morneau returned to the lineup last season after missing the second half of 2010 because of a concussion. But he batted only .227 last season with four homers and 30 RBI in 69 games. He needed surgery in June 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 despite a strained left wrist.

He never played after Aug. 28, when he lunged for a ball down the first-base line and landed 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.

Gardenhire said he's been swapping text messages with Morneau.

"He's going back and forth with the doctors, trying to get clearance," Gardenhire said.

It's unclear if Morneau needs clearance for certain workouts or to resume any baseball-related activates, although it's still fairly early in the offseason for that.

''We have decisions to make and we need to make them quick so we can move forward," Gardenhire said.

Gardenhire also said during his appearance that the club is making "a mad effort" to re-sign outfielder Michael Cuddyer and that he would like to have Matt Capps back as the closer.

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