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Updated: February 24th, 2012 3:59pm
Notebook: Ron Gardenhire OK with Justin Morneau's honest assessment

Notebook: Ron Gardenhire OK with Justin Morneau's honest assessment

by Phil Mackey
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- It's understandable why the social media reaction was so negative on Friday in response to Minnesota Twins first baseman Justin Morneau's comments about his health status.

Morneau spoke with optimism, but provided a realistic outlook for the worst-case scenario if concussion symptoms limit him again over the coming weeks and months. And sometimes the truth can be scary, because the worst-case scenario for Morneau likely means retirement -- something everyone in the organization obviously hopes to avoid.

After speaking with reporters, Morneau went through the team's first full-squad, three-hour workout, fielding groundballs, taking batting practice, and standing in against live pitching -- 25 total pitches from left-handers Aaron Thompson and Phil Dumatrait.

"He's here, he's out on the field, and that's what we're going to do -- put him out on the field and go from there," manager Ron Gardenhire told reporters after practice. "If people are getting excited and worried about him being honest then that's too bad. He should have concerns, everybody should when you're talking about things like that because it's the unknown. But I think he's fine, from everything we've seen he's doing good. He had a good day today, and we just go from there."

Gardenhire added, "It would be silly for you to think he wouldn't be concerned about a concussion when he's had to deal with this for a year and a half. That would be kind of silly. I'm not worried about it."

Morneau has no restrictions. As of Friday afternoon, he and Gardenhire had not discussed any health issues, and the doctors had not talked to Gardenhire about Morneau's health either.

The Twins, and Morneau, are proceeding as if all is well. If that changes, the parties will re-evaluate.

"When he walked out on the field today, that's all I needed to see, to see he was out there with everybody else doing the drills," Gardenhire said. "That tells me he's ready to go. ...

"I'll talk to him eventually about games and stuff, but I'm really at the point where I'm going to let him go play, and we won't even talk about it. We've talked about it enough. I've talked for quite a while with this guy; he's probably tired of answering. He's answered it enough from you guys, so just let him go play. If he wants to chat, come on in."

Numbers game

2: Twins players named to Baseball America's 2012 Top 100 Prospects list. Miguel Sano was ranked No. 18 and Joe Benson No. 99.

21: The number of career games non-roster invite Steve Pearce has played at third base in his career, including the minor leagues. Pearce began Friday's infield session by playing third base along with Danny Valencia and Sean Burroughs.

2: Hall of Famers who arrived at camp Friday -- Paul Molitor and Rod Carew. Molitor was extremely hands-on during some of the infield drills, at one point stopping action to show shortstops proper footwork.

Quick hits

Tsuyoshi Nishioka took a few groundballs at first base -- and shortstop -- as the Twins attempt to prep him for a possible utility role. "Let's give him a chance to get back out there and play some baseball, and I told him that again today -- 'You're a really good baseball player. You can play.' He's really worked hard."

• Brian Dozier took all of his reps at shortstop during the 30-minute infield session to open practice.

Health report

• INF Michael Hollimon missed workouts Friday due to flu-like symptoms. Hollimon showed up to the clubhouse early in the morning, but was told by trainers to go home and get rest.

• INF Luke Hughes (shoulder) took groundballs during infield drills on Friday, but he still isn't able to throw. Hughes is hoping to add more baseball activities next week.


"If I were in charge, I'd bury the (expletive) out of you in front of all these people. But I'm not going to do that."
-- Tom Kelly, joking with a reporter who was yawning during infield drills.

On deck

Full-squad workouts continue Saturday.

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