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Updated: September 30th, 2010 4:36pm
Morneau optimistic that he is 'back to normal' and hopes to return for ALCS

Morneau optimistic that he is 'back to normal' and hopes to return for ALCS

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Twins first baseman Justin Morneau, sidelined since July 7 with concussion symptoms, went through a full workout at Target Field on Thursday for the first time in weeks -- complete with batting practice, throwing drills, groundballs and some running.

If all goes well, Morneau is hopeful he can return for the American League Championship Series, should the Twins make it that far.

"I wouldn't be out there if that wasn't my goal," Morneau said. "Obviously the first goal is to just get back to feeling normal. I think we're there. The second thing is being able to do baseball activities without having any hesitation or any second thought.

"The first round is not something that's going to be possible with being out for as long as I've been out, but we'll have the goal of hopefully being ready by the second round. But this thing is so unpredictable, it's hard to say."

Morneau is proceeding with cautious optimism, and he reminded people that even though his workout went well, symptoms don't usually pop up until later in the day.

"It's been a very good few days," Morneau said. "We'll see how it goes the rest of the day. This is the first day being outside doing everything for a while... It's a positive, and we're hoping it just keeps going like this every day, and we'll see where we're at."

Three weeks ago, Morneau told reporters he was eliminating batting practice and most baseball activities in hopes of flushing out the concussion symptoms. Earlier this week, trainers gave him the green light to push forward once again.

"I think (Sunday) was the first day we came out here and really said, 'It's now or never, we're going to try and push it,'" Morneau said.

"We did. And we did a little bit more the next day, and every day was kind of increased since Sunday, so four or five days. Hopefully it keeps going that way."

Morneau has been in contact with other peers who have suffered concussions -- Jason Bay, Corey Koskie and hockey player Willie Mitchell. He said those players have told him not to push things too hard.

Doctors and trainers have told Morneau to limit stress as much as possible.

"Head injuries aren't like a broken wrist where you walk around with a cast on," Morneau said. "It's inside, it's pretty much how you feel. It's not something that shows up on an x-ray or anything like that. It's something that anybody who's been through it can know what it feels like, but it's hard to describe.

"You kind of sit down and watch TV, and I couldn't make it through watching two or three innings of a game. Now all of that stuff is kind of back to normal."

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.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd
In this story: Justin Morneau
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