Twins place Morneau on disabled list

Twins place Morneau on disabled list

MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins first baseman Justin Morneau has been placed on the 15-day disabled list as he continues to recover from a concussion that he suffered while trying to break up a double play in Toronto on July 7.

Morneau said that he tried working out on Thursday morning for 25 minutes on an elliptical machine and felt good during his workout. But afterward, he said that some "fogginess" still lingered and he expected to go on the DL.

"Hopefully when it's time to come off, we'll be 100 percent ready to go without any questions," Morneau said. "What happens if I dive? What happens if I go in to break up a double play? You don't want that while you're playing.

"You just want to go out there and play, and not have those thoughts and be able to be aggressive."

Despite the slight setback, Morneau said he was encouraged by the progress he's shown in the past few days. He said that his headaches have pretty much disappeared and so had the foggy feeling -- which he described as things just aren't registering right -- until after his workout Thursday.

"The good sign is that it keeps getting better every day," Morneau said. "I think we've been handling it the right way and being pretty cautious with it."

The Twins recalled pitcher Jeff Manship from Triple-A Rochester to replace Morneau on the roster. The move is to help the club's taxed bullpen, which was forced to throw six innings in Thursday's 8-7 loss to the White Sox.

Infielder Matt Tolbert was eligible to come off the DL on Friday and had been expected to be activated, but Tolbert's bruised right middle finger is still not well.

Michael Cuddyer will continue to sub for Morneau at first base.

Morneau will be eligible to return from the DL on July 23. He has not played since suffering the mild concussion when he was accidentally kneed in the head by the Blue Jays' John McDonald during a takeout slide into second base.

He missed the series finale in Toronto and the entire series with the Tigers in Detroit, which ended the first half. Morneau, who had been voted by fans as the American League starter at first base, also skipped the All-Star Game after a head and concussion specialist in Detroit recommended that he take some time away from the game to rest.

The rest did help, Morneau said. But his head is still not feeling well enough to try any baseball activities.

"It's close, but it's not close enough to where we're going to run out there and take a chance with it," Morneau said. "Things like this, you don't want to end up affecting you for a long time. Like I said before, you can play with a sore knee or a sore wrist and not risk long-term damage. But you want to be able to function when you're done playing baseball, and the brain isn't something you really mess around with."

This is the second time in Morneau's Major League career that he's gone on the DL because of a concussion. He also was disabled in April 2005 after he was hit in the head by a pitch from Seattle's Ron Villone.

"He's still feeling the effects, and we're not going to take any chances," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire.

Morneau said that when he does return he will likely use the new style of batting helmets, which offer more protection to the head. The first baseman didn't think it would have prevented this concussion.

"But for safety's sake, I think we'll try to use that new helmet and see," Morneau said. "It didn't look as bad in the All-Star Game, so we'll see how it goes."

Morneau has been in contact with former Minnesota player Corey Koskie and some of his hockey friends, who have all suffered concussions in the past. While some players have seen concussions result in them missing a significant amount of time, Morneau said he isn't worried that will be the case for him.

"Most of the time, the guys that have missed a lot of time are guys that have had minor concussions, and they try to come back too quick and something happens," Morneau said. "And then it ends up turning into a real long-term problem. I think that's what we're trying to avoid."

Morneau seemed OK with a stay on the DL considering that he's not sure how long his team might be without him. And with the Twins starting that four-game series against the first-place White Sox, Morneau knows it would be better for his team to have 25 healthy guys.

"You don't want the guys to play short-handed for too long," Morneau said. "That's where we are at today. Who knows if it will be good in 3-4 days, but playing a big series like this, you don't want to be short-handed when you need that extra guy sometimes."

Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.