January 25, 2011 – Yesterday the big Twins story was that GM Bill Smith has asked Justin Morneau not to attend TwinsFest this coming week-end so that he does not take 3-5 days away from his workouts as he prepares for the 2011 season.
I am not a believer in coincidences and to me a glass is more often half empty then it is half full so I have to ask, how healthy is Justin Morneau? Without Morneau at first base the Twins hope for another post season appearance is all but done before the first “play ball” echo dies at Target Field. Smith is a master at providing as little information as possible and playing his cards close to the vest. I take everything that Mr. Smith says with a grain of salt, no, I am not saying that Smith is not being truthful, I am just saying that he provides you with a bit of valid information but he never answers the question head on.
So what is the deal with Morneau? Morneau has a history of being an extremely hard worker and starting his baseball regiment early to prepare for the up-coming season. So much so, that in past years he has been asked to “back it down” and take it a bit easier early in the spring so that he can conserve some of his energy for the long and grueling season ahead. Morneau is famous for his bright and early workouts at Ft. Myers; he is like those Army ads “where he gets more done by 9AM than most people do in an entire day”. Now Smith is saying that he doesn’t want to tear Morneau away from his workouts for 3-5 days and get him out of his rhythm in late January? Come on now Mr. Smith, tell me how Justin taking a few days off in late January is going to hurt him. Justin is either healthy and ready to play for the Twins this season or he is not, attending TwinsFest or not attending makes absolutely no difference.
This is not about Morneau attending TwinsFest; it is about Morneau’s health. I really hope that I am wrong here but I am very concerned about Morneau’s health and if he is going to be able to answer the call come April 1 when the season gets underway. Without Morneau at first base the Twins hopes of getting into the playoffs are almost nonexistent and everyone knows that. So what is to be gained by keeping Morneau’s health status a secret? Ticket sales? No, they will sell out again this year no matter if Morneau is at first or not. Will Smith get the competitive advantage in some kind of a trade or free agent signing? Who knows, but I really have an uneasy feeling about all of this. I will feel a lot better when I see Justin working out like he normally does in early February at the ballpark.