La Velle E. Neal III has covered baseball for the Star Tribune since 1998 (the post-Knoblauch era). Born and raised in Chicago, he grew up following the White Sox and hating the Cubs. He attended both the University of Illinois and Illinois-Chicago and began his baseball writing career at the Kansas City Star. He can be heard occasionally on KFAN radio, lending his great baseball mind to Paul Allen and other hosts. Mark Rosen borrows him occasionally for WCCO-TV.

Another Morneau update

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: January 24, 2011 - 7:28 AM

One of the biggest offseason developments for the Twins has been Justin Morneau's recovery from the concussion he suffered in July.

Twins GM Bill Smith provided an update last week when he appeared on the MLB Network channel. Host Mike Ferrin asked the following question:

Ferrin: ``Are you as confident as Justin is that when spring training starts he’s going to be full bore in activities?”

 Smith's response: ``Well he called the other day and I had a great talk with him.  I hadn’t talked with him in probably a month and he told me that he has had a real good week of workouts.  He said he pushed it, I think he said - this was Monday night - so he said on Friday he pushed it about as hard as he can in any workout and he didn’t have any problems.  And that’s a great thing for us. 
 
``The doctors had told us last year that these things take time.  It’s a concussion, is an injury to the brain, and they take time to heal and they cautioned us of that.  And everything that they have said has come true.  So through July, August, September, whenever he had some kind of symptoms the doctors cautioned him to back off. 
 
``Now he’s at the point that the doctors told him if you have any small symptoms of that concussion just fight through it, just work through it and he said he’s been feeling real good.  He’s doing all his conditioning work right now.  He’ll start the baseball activities.  He did say he played catch the other day.  He’s going to start swinging the bat probably the first of February, which gives him two months before Opening Day.  So I think we’re right on track and we’re very optimistic of getting him back.”
 
Some fans have approached me during the offseason and said, ``Morneau's done, isn't he?'' Of course he's not. If this was 10 years ago, Morneau probably would have been back on the field in August. But concussion awareness has increased in all sports and athletes are being more cautious. Wild fans have seen that with Pierre-Marc Bouchard.

Right now, everything is looking good for the Twins' first baseman.

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