Justin Morneau made headlines when he reported to camp last Friday by talking about the possibility of concussion symptoms ending his career. On Wednesday, he said he was answering a question as honestly as he could and reminded everyone that he's feeling good through six days of workouts.
"You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that if the stuff continues, I probably wouldn't be able to play again," he said. "It wasn't anything other than stating the obvious.
"I also said that I don't expect that to happen. I don't anticipate that to happen. That's something that's in the back, maybe 5 percent, of my mind. But you have to, obviously, look at all the options and everything that's happened."
Morneau has looked and sounded good throughout camp. After taking a few days to track batting practice pitches from the pitcher's hand to the catcher's mitt, Morneau has started swinging and hit a home run off Francisco Liriano on Tuesday.
He was asked if he's thinking less about concussions than when he first reported to camp.
"Coming in, you never know how it's going to go," he said. "The workouts went great this winter, and I was very optimistic coming in that everything was going to continue to go well. You take positive steps every day. Obviously it's always going to be there."
Twins General Manager Terry Ryan watched Morneau work out Wednesday and liked what he saw.
"Today I was down on the far field watching," Ryan said. "[Lester] Oliveros was throwing it out there pretty good, and [Morneau] is in there taking his whacks. He was running the bases today. So there's a lot of optimism in how he's going about his business.
"I worry about a lot of things. I understand why you bring up Justin; that's certainly a legitimate concern because of the history. But I don't worry about Justin any more than I worry about [Denard] Span; they had the same symptoms, but both of them are doing wonderful."
Game time, sort of
Here are the pitchers for Thursday's B game against Boston at Hammond Stadium:
Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn, Liam Hendriks, Jeff Manship, Jason Bulger, Carlos Gutierrez, Tyler Robertson, Brendan Wise and Deolis Guerra. Robertson is the only lefthander.
The starting outfield will consist of Ben Revere, Joe Benson and Rene Tosoni.
The infield, around the horn, is Aaron Bates, Pedro Florimon, Brian Dozier and Ray Chang. J.R. Towles is the catcher.
Jon Lester, Daniel Bard and Jesse Carlson are among the pitchers Boston plans to use.
2011 stats: 10-3, 3.61 ERA in 55 games at Class AA New Britain last season. Made one appearance at AAA Rochester.
Tidbits: His fastball reaches the low 90s and he throws a nice curveball. ... A third-round pick in 2006, Robertson was a starter until 2011, when he was moved to the bullpen. ... Struck out 88 batters in 892/3 innings last season and gave up only six home runs.
LA VELLE E. NEAL III