Morneau sees doctor, maintains progress

Morneau sees doctor, maintains progress

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Justin Morneau visited a doctor in Pittsburgh on Tuesday for what was a previously scheduled appointment, but the Twins first baseman continues to await clearance to play in games.

Morneau stressed on Wednesday morning that he continues to make progress in his recovery from the concussion that he sustained on July 7, but he said there is still no timetable for his return. He also made it clear that the appointment in no way signaled a setback.

"Everything's still going good," Morneau said while talking to reporters in the clubhouse in Fort Myers, Fla., before the Twins left to play the Pirates in Bradenton. "It wasn't like, 'Hey, if something happened we were going to run up and see the doctor.' It was something already planned. It's been planned for a while.

"We're going to continue what we're doing, and when you see me in the lineup, that's when I'm cleared for games. There's no timetable, there's nothing. Test results, everything's still improving. It's not all the way there yet, but it's a lot closer than it was."

Morneau said he'll continue with the same workouts he's been doing this spring, which has included taking batting practice, facing live pitching and doing fielding drills.

"Pretty much everything, except no game action," Morneau said. "No activity where I could be in danger, where there's still a risk of injury."

The first baseman has said continually that doctors want him to be fully recovered from this concussion before he puts himself at risk again. Doctors have said that the real danger can occur if an athlete suffers a second concussion while still recovering from an earlier one.

"If I'm getting through every day symptom-free, without any headaches, without any fogginess ... when we have that more than one or two days in a row, whatever it is, we'll go and hopefully get cleared," Morneau said. "When that is, I can't tell you. I have no idea."

The good news, Morneau said, is that he has continued to see improvement. He said that getting back on the field and taking batting practice with his teammates before their first spring contest against the Red Sox on Sunday night was a really good step for him. And while his recovery has been a slow and often frustrating process, Morneau seems to be focused on the positive steps he's been taking lately -- including the fact that he's felt good since arriving at Spring Training.

"Look at where I was a month ago, two months ago, six months ago, and I know that it's continuously gotten better," Morneau said. "So I'll just trust the program we're on."

Both the Twins and Morneau have remained optimistic that he will be ready for Opening Day on April 1 in Toronto -- but Morneau acknowledged that it's not really up to him.

"My desire is always to play, but the doctors told me they're not going to put me in any kind of danger," he said. "People say 'Oh, it's baseball, how much danger is there?' Well, who would have thought I'd be out this long from breaking up a double play?"

Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Kelly's Corner and follow her on Twitter at kellythesier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.