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Updated: February 21st, 2012 5:01pm
Notebook: When he reports, Justin Morneau won't have any restrictions

Notebook: When he reports, Justin Morneau won't have any restrictions

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Minnesota Twins first baseman Justin Morneau will arrive to Fort Myers within the next 48 hours, and when he does, general manager Terry Ryan said he won't have any restrictions.

"From everything I gather, he's looks like he's doing OK," Ryan said Sunday. "He's starting to swing the bat and all that stuff."

Morneau underwent neck surgery early last summer, then minor surgery on his right foot and left knee in September, plus left wrist surgery.

On top of those procedures, Morneau has not yet been cleared to play through Major League Baseball's concussion policy, but Ryan essentially said clearance is a formality.

"We'll get clearance. But we have to have Justin sign off on it, too, so we can't do anything till he shows up. There's no reason think this is anything other than just paperwork, but we can't do anything until Justin Morneau signs off."

By all accounts, Morneau has gone through a successful offseason of workouts, but the Twins will keep a close eye on him once he joins group workouts in Fort Myers.

Guardado keeps mood light

The Twins have been good in recent years about welcoming former players to spring training as coaches, advisors and visitors -- Paul Molitor, Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew, Jim Kaat, Terry Steinbach, etc.

One of the new old faces this year is Eddie Guardado, who spent parts of 12 seasons in a Twins uniform, dating back to 1993. Over that stretch Guardado tallied 116 saves, with most of them coming on the 2002 and 2003 division championship teams.

During the first three days of pitcher/catcher workouts, Guardado has roamed around and talked with just about everyone, keeping the mood light and entertaining -- not much different than when he roamed the Hammond Field clubhouse as a player back in the 1990's.

"That's exactly what we want him for," manager Ron Gardenhire said Tuesday. "We want him to be Eddie and share his experiences. That's why we asked him to come down here. Eddie was a guy who wasn't blessed with the greatest fastball or the greatest stuff but he had courage. He had no fear. And he enjoyed being at all the ballpark. He enjoyed every minute of it and enjoyed putting the uniform on. And we want him to relay that to these guys out there.

"I don't want to put anything in his mouth. I want it to come from Eddie. I was here as a coach when he was here and when I was a manager. I've known him for a long time. I don't want to put anything in his mouth. I want him to it from his heart. And that's what he does really well. He makes a strong case for what he expects, and what he expected from himself. And I want him to relay that and he does a great job of that."

It was pitching coach Rick Anderson who facilitated the notion of Guardado joining the Twins' instructor team in Fort Myers. Since retiring in 2009, Guardado has maintained positive relationships with Anderson, Gardenhire, and also Twins executive Wayne Krivsky, who was the Reds' GM during Guardado's short stint in Cincinnati in 2006-2007.

"We've got a very good history with Eddie, and he's recently retired," Ryan said. "I haven't asked him this, but he may have some interest in actually being a coach at some point in his life. I don't know that this is the time, but he wanted to get exposure to what it's like to be a coach. ...

"We're big on tradition. We like what he can bring to this operation... We think he's going to be a good influence on our pitchers."

Health report

• INF Luke Hughes (shoulder) requested a second opinion on his MRI, but that opinion has not yet arrived.

• MI Brian Dozier (cut thumb) took swings, played catch and participated in the position player workouts. He appears to be fine.

Numbers game

4: Position players yet to report -- Morneau, Josh Willingham, Oswaldo Arcia and Sean Burroughs. Position players don't have to report until Thursday.

16: Pitchers who threw bullpen sessions on Tuesday, including Joel Zumaya, Glen Perkins, Deolis Guerra, Carl Pavano, Jason Marquis, Matt Capps and Carlos Gutierrez.

Overheard

"We've talked just between him and I. And that usually stays between us unless I tweet it. But that'll be a cold day in hell when that happens."
-- Gardenhire, on his discussions with Brian Duensing about the left-hander's role.

"The Canadian National Anthem: Red Solo Cup."
-- Hitting coach Joe Vavra, teasing Canadian Rene Tosoni, and referring to Toby Keith's song, "Red Solo Cup."

On deck

Pitchers and catchers will work out for two more days until full-squad workouts begin on Friday. Position players will continue their own workouts on the side fields on Wednesday and Thursday.

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
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