Updated: August 4th, 2011 9:24pm
Justin Morneau to begin rehab assignment with Triple-A Rochester

Justin Morneau to begin rehab assignment with Triple-A Rochester

by Phil Mackey
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Minnesota Twins first baseman Justin Morneau said all along his goal was to return to the field by mid-August, and it appears he's on track to do so.

Six weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a pinched nerve in his neck, Morneau has been cleared to begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Rochester beginning on Friday, manager Ron Gardenhire told reporters Thursday in Anaheim. 

Gardenhire did not specificy how long Morneau's rehab assignment would last before the first baseman rejoins the big-league squad.

Morneau landed on the disabled list on June 14 with a sore left wrist, but elected to undergo the neck surgery due to lingering numbness and weakness up and down his left arm -- symptoms that Morneau initially brought to light during spring training in March.

Prior to being sidelined, Morneau was hitting just .225/.281/.338 with four home runs and 21 RBIs.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
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In this story: Ron Gardenhire, Justin Morneau