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Updated: December 3rd, 2012 6:14pm
Justin Morneau's upcoming presence in WBC a good sign for Twins

Justin Morneau's upcoming presence in WBC a good sign for Twins

by Phil Mackey
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NASHVILLE -- The Minnesota Twins received some good news on the injury front Monday, indirectly.

Major League Baseball announced the first 32 players (two per team) to commit to the 2013 World Baseball Classic, which takes place in March. Among those first players to commit were two Minnesota Twins -- Joe Mauer (U.S.A.) and Justin Morneau (Canada).

This news is significant mostly because of the injury histories of Mauer and Morneau, both of whom would have been in no condition the last two offseasons to gear up for highly competitive baseball in early March.

For Morneau, specifically, the last two offseasons have centered around clearing concussion cobwebs and recovering from multiple surgeries.

"I don't think there's any doubt that he's ready, and physically ready to take that on," general manager Terry Ryan said Monday. "Certainly he has a lot of interest in playing in the WBC. He takes a lot of pride in the Canadian baseball front."

In early spring of last season, Morneau's tone was cautious, if not slightly cryptic, when he said, "You can only torture yourself for so long."

Morneau did spent two weeks on the disabled list early on with lingering wrist soreness, and manager Ron Gardenhire kept him out of the final three-game series of the season in Toronto due to wear and tear. But for Morneau to play in 134 games after three injury-marred seasons is an accomplishment.

His numbers weren't vintage Morneau -- .267/.333/.440 with 19 home runs and 77 RBIs -- but there were flashes of the former MVP.

Morneau, 31, will earn $14 million next year in a contract season. Many people close to him believe 2013 could be a big season.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd