Live from Florida, Day 40: Morneau hopes to play in season opener
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A rundown of the news, notes and quotes from Monday at Minnesota Twins spring training:
Twins 4, Pirates 3
First baseman Justin Morneau went 1-for-3 with a single in Monday's spring-training finale, which marked the first time all spring he has played in four consecutive "A" games.
With the Twins traveling to Atlanta for a two-game exhibition series against the Braves on Tuesday and Wednesday, Morneau says his goal remains to play on opening day, April 1, against the Toronto Blue Jays.
"That's the hope," Morneau said. "Everything's gone well so far. I'm not going to get overly excited or anything else. I can't put more into it than what it is, but as of right now, that's the plan."
He added, "The only way to find out is by going through it, and everything has reacted well so far."
Morneau's spring journey has gone about as well as anyone could have hoped. The first baseman played in a "B" game on March 8, ripping a bases-clearing, three-RBI double in his second at-bat. He followed-up by suiting up in an "A" game on March 11, and over his last five games he has collected five hits, including three doubles, with zero strikeouts.
Manager Ron Gardenhire said, if all goes well in Atlanta, Morneau will be cleared by doctors to play in the season opener.
Still, even with April 1 as his target date for completing the comeback from a concussion suffered on July 7, 2010, Morneau keeps a subdued attitude.
"As long as everything continues to go well, (doctors) have the final say," Morneau said. "Feedback is important, and being honest with my feedback is important. As much as I want to be out there opening day, if there's anything that's not right we're not going to risk it. But so far everything's been good.
"We've been in constant contact, where I've given them feedback every day. I've given them honest feedback every day. If everything hasn't been perfect, or exactly how we've wanted it to, we've been in constant contact. It's been a progress the whole way, and it'll continue to be monitored, that's for sure. Even once the season starts, there will still be conversations and everything else, just to make sure everything's going good."
Morneau said he plans to stay in constant contact with doctors for the entire first half of the season, and he acknowledged that making his return in Toronto -- the city where he took a knee to the head on July 7 from second baseman Aaron Hill -- is a bit strange.
"Yeah, I've thought about that. It's kind of funny, but it is what it is. It'll be nice to get back there right away and play. I'm going to answer the same questions there that I am here."
15: The number of sellouts, in 15 games, the Twins had at Hammond Stadium this spring.
8,347: The number of fans in attendance on Monday, which set a Twins spring-training record.
129,459: The overall attendance in 15 spring games at Hammond Stadium, which ranks second all-time only to the Twins' 2007 spring festivities, which drew 129,543 fans.
No significant health concerns.
"I was a little nervous that I would have to go back, actually. Because I've really enjoyed it over here, and just the atmosphere. This is an organization I can see myself playing with, and that I really want to play with."
-- Left-hander Scott Diamond, after learning that the Twins retained him in a trade with the Atlanta Braves.
The Twins travel to Atlanta on Tuesday for a two-game exhibition series with the Braves. RHP Nick Blackburn is scheduled to face RHP Cristhian Martinez.