Batting practice could be in Morneau's near future

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 27, 2012 - 7:04 AM

The Twins slugger has been waiting for his surgically repaired wrist to heal.

Twins first baseman Justin Morneau worked out near his Phoenix, Ariz., home in preparation for 2012 spring training.

Photo: David Cruze, Special to the Star Tribune

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Justin Morneau hopes to take another step in his recovery from wrist surgery this weekend while he's in the Twin Cities for TwinsFest.

The first baseman will see Dr. Thomas Varecka to determine if he's ready to begin taking batting practice.

Morneau had surgery Sept. 30 to stabilize a tendon in his left wrist. He spent six weeks in a cast and six more in a splint and wasn't cleared to take swings off a batting tee until last week.

Morneau's wrist began bothering him last May. An Internet rumor has circulated that Morneau injured the wrist in a clubhouse tirade after a strikeout, but Morneau refuted that this week in an e-mail to the Star Tribune.

"My wrist injury was done swinging," Morneau said. "It was not the result of a locker room tirade, as it was put. The groove that the tendon sits in wears out over time. The doctor seems to think that some people are born with less of a groove and are more likely to develop that problem with overuse.

"The surgery has been done on a couple Twins players in the past and is also pretty common in hockey players, as I was told by the wrist specialist."

Morneau had his wrist placed in a cast last June in the hopes of avoiding season-ending surgery. Then he had surgery to relieve a pinched nerve in his neck, which was causing weakness in his left arm and numbness in his fingers.

"I played with it after [returning from the neck surgery], and it felt pretty good for a while," Morneau said. "And then it came back and got worse as the season went along in July and August. Surgery was not recommended in June when it was first casted, as [the tendon] wasn't as unstable as it was in August and September."

Morneau, 30, had four surgeries last year, including September procedures to remove a cyst from his left knee and remove a bone spur from his right foot. His past two seasons have ended because of concussions.

Last week, after noting that he hadn't had any concussion symptoms since December, Morneau said, "I think the wrist [injury] might have been the best thing for me because it made me slow down and focus on making slow, gradual improvements."

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