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Updated: February 15th, 2013 11:34am
Justin Morneau not worried about future, would 'love' to stay with Twins

Justin Morneau not worried about future, would 'love' to stay with Twins

by Judd Zulgad
1500ESPN.com
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Justin Morneau arrived at spring training on Friday hoping for the best but aware of the fact this could be his final go-around with the Minnesota Twins. Morneau is entering the last season of a six-year, $80 million contract and could find himself being pursued by other teams as the July 31 trade deadline approaches, if the Twins fall out of contention.

On the day before the Twins' first full-squad workout, Morneau said he isn't concerned about the future.

"Yeah, whatever it is it'll take care of itself," he said. "If I get through the year healthy we'll see what happens then. I'll let all that stuff play out. I'm hoping we'll be making additions at the trade deadline instead of worrying about who we're trading. So until that comes along and it's proved otherwise, we plan on being a team that's going to battle and be in it in July and hopefully adding to this team whatever we need."

That's a best case scenario for a franchise that has lost 99 and 96 games in 2011 and 2012, respectively, and has spent the offseason rebuilding by trading for young pitching. If Morneau remains healthy and avoids the concussion issues that have plagued him at times in recent years, he could provide a major boost to a contending team.

Morneau, a third-round pick of the Twins in 1999, said this offseason that he was able to go full speed with his workouts and didn't have to worry as much about his health as he did a year ago when he was coming off multiple surgeries and dealing with the concussion issues.

Last season, Morneau hit .267 with 19 home runs and 77 RBI in 134 games. That was the most games in which he played since he appeared in 135 for the Twins in 2009. Morneau was the 2006 American League MVP when he hit .321 with 34 home runs and 130 RBI.

Asked if there had been any contract discussions with the Twins, Morneau said: "I think from their side and my side they want to see where I'm at. The last few years there have been some difficulties with all the injuries and all that stuff. It's not something I'm really interested in doing during the season because it can become a distraction.

"But I'll never say never. It's something where the future looks good with the prospects list and what we have coming and all that stuff. I want to win obviously and so that's the important thing. If it looks like there's a chance we're going to win, I'd love to stay here. I've been here my whole career and this where I hope to be in the future. It's hard to say otherwise. But sometimes those decisions aren't yours. So we'll see. We'll cross that bridge when we get to it."

Morneau said no matter what happens, his contract situation isn't going to change his approach.

"Obviously you never know what the future holds if I'm going to be here or not," he said. "It's one of those things where it is what it is. I've never been in this situation before. Obviously a young player you make the team and you try to make it to arbitration and get some stability. And for me, I was locked up after my first year of arbitration. So it's something I haven't experienced before but it doesn't change anything. The goal is still to win." 

Judd Zulgad is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays and "Saturday Morning SportsTalk" from 10 a.m. to noon on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Judd | @1500ESPNJudd | Mackey & Judd
In this story: Justin Morneau
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