Morneau doesn't rule out his return to Twins — but not now

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 2, 2013 - 7:11 AM

The free-agent first baseman can see himself in a Twins uniform again in some role.


Justin Morneau spent the last month of the 2013 season with the Pittsburgh Pirates; right now he doesn't know where he will play in 2014, although it doesn't appear likely it will be with the Twins.

Photo: Gene Puskar, Dml - Ap

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Justin Morneau sounded pretty certain Saturday that he will return to the Twins.

Just not necessarily next year. For that matter, not necessarily as a player.

“I can’t say [it’s] unlikely” that he’ll wear a Twins uniform again someday, Morneau said during his first public appearance here since being traded to Pittsburgh on Aug. 31. “There’s no saying I won’t be back in the future. You never know what the opportunity is going to be, whether it’s as a player, later, or as a coach, or someone who comes down to spring training. Whatever it is, it’s a different chapter, but [Minnesota] is something that will stick with me forever.”

He proved it Saturday by signing hundreds of autographs at the Fan HQ store at Ridgedale Center, his first public appearance here since being traded to Pittsburgh on Aug. 31. Morneau was on hand to thank donors to his coat drive, a monthlong charity effort that wound up about 10 times more successful than he and his wife, Krista, imagined.

“Our original goal was 300 coats, and we surpassed that in the first two days,” Morneau said. “It’s been amazing to see the response.”

That response allowed the Salvation Army Harbor Light Center in downtown Minneapolis to distribute 1,800 coats on Thanksgiving Day to needy residents, and counting Saturday’s collections, the total will surpass 3,000 coats. His charity efforts likely will continue in the Twin Cities, Morneau said, even if his career doesn’t.

So where will his career take him next?

“I’m open to anything,” said Morneau, the 2006 AL MVP. “We’ve been talking to a few teams. There are great opportunities out there.”

He’s had conversations lately with former Twins Joe Nathan, Nick Punto and Michael Cuddyer, he said, the latter putting in a word for the Colorado Rockies, rumored to be in pursuit of Minnesota’s third-leading career home-run leader.

He’s dropped in on a current Twin, too — the one whose recent position change, Morneau conceded, might crowd him out of the Twins’ current plans. Morneau visited Joe Mauer last month, and recognized the frustration the Twins’ catcher-turned-first-baseman was having over the lingering effects of a concussion.

“The uncertainty, that’s the hardest part,” Morneau said. “It’s just a frustrating time when you’re not sure you feel good a couple of days. I went through it, he went through it a little bit. Hopefully he’s past it now and he doesn’t have to deal with it again for the rest of his career.”

That concussion convinced Mauer to give up catching and take Morneau’s old position, a move the ex-teammate endorses.

“He’s such a good athlete, he can play everywhere. It kind of affects whether I’m going to come back, [but] moving to first will give him an opportunity to play every single day. He’s the most important piece on that team. To risk him getting hurt again doesn’t make a lot of sense. It’s the right move in the long run, and hopefully it allows him to play another 10 years if he wants to. And I get to sit in the front row when they send him into the Hall of Fame.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
Chicago WSox000002010380
Minnesota «00100030X460
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:J.Burton(2-2) L:R.Belisario(3-7) S:G.Perkins (25)
HR: CWS- A.Nieto (1) MIN- None


San Diego - LP: J. Lane 0 FINAL
Atlanta - WP: E. Santana 2
Washington 2 Top 6th Inning
Miami 0
Philadelphia 0 Top 6th Inning
NY Mets 7
Milwaukee 1 Bottom 6th Inning
Tampa Bay 0
Toronto 4 Top 6th Inning
Boston 0
Arizona 1 Top 7th Inning
Cincinnati 1
Colorado 0 Bottom 3rd Inning
Chicago Cubs 0
NY Yankees 1 Top 3rd Inning
Texas 0
Oakland 1 Top 3rd Inning
Houston 0
Pittsburgh - V. Worley 9:15 PM
San Francisco - M. Bumgarner
NY Giants 8/3/14 7:00 PM
Los Angeles 9:00 PM
Calgary 26 FINAL
Edmonton 22
Winnipeg 23 FINAL
Brt Columbia 6
Ottawa 23 FINAL
Hamilton 33
Toronto 9 FINAL
Saskatchewan 37
Indiana 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Should the Twins replace Ron Gardenhire?

Weekly Question