Justin Morneau, in Minneapolis for his 3-month-old daughter Estelle's baptism, had plans Thursday morning. When he heard what was going on at Target Field, he cancelled them.

"I said, 'I have to be there,' " the former Twins first baseman said after surprising Torii Hunter by showing up, along with another Twins MVP, Joe Mauer, for his retirement news conference. "When you leave this game, World Series or not, it's the relationships you carry with you [that matter]. Obviously, this is like a family here."

This family eventually scattered. But Morneau came to honor his ex-teammate Thursday, and said he wouldn't mind filling a leadership role for a playoff contender similar to the one Hunter embodied here.

"The knowledge that I've gained along the way, the lessons learned, if you can [use them to] help the guys around you, that's the way the game works," said Morneau, who turned 34 in May. "It's a role that's actually a lot more fun than I ever thought it'd be. I love to talk hitting. Being around young guys, being in that role has been a lot of fun for me, really opened my eyes to possibly coaching — hopefully a long ways down the road — or managing."

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