"Long-term health and long-term career are more important than the next week or next month," Smith stressed.
And the short window for Morneau to prepare himself for the postseason just wasn't enough time to make sure he was completely ready to play again."The biggest thing the doctor said to me is, 'I'm confident that you'll get better, confident that you'll be ready to go for Spring Training. So if you go out there and get hit again, I don't want you feeling like this when you're 50,'" Morneau said. "I think that's kind of what made me realize there is the potential for this to carry on for a long time, and that's what we're definitely trying to avoid." Morneau said the next step for him is to take two weeks to rest and then he'll be re-evaluated by the doctors. The goal at that time is to get him into a workout program that will slowly build him up for Spring Training. Morneau, who reiterated that he's seen significant progress from when he first suffered the injury, is confident he'll be ready at that time. "If we just eliminate all the question marks now, hopefully when we get into November I can get on my regular workout program," Morneau said. "I'll have the couple weeks off once the season is over and then get back into workouts ... so we're completely ready for Spring Training." The first baseman said that he'll continue to be around the Twins and attend games while they are at home during the postseason, but he will not travel on the road with them to avoid all the distractions. Morneau admitted that the decision to shut things down was more difficult than he thought it might be. He's now going to miss the postseason for a second straight year after being sidelined with a stress fracture in his lower back last season. But the first baseman does have a pretty good distraction at home now -- his newborn daughter, Evelyn, who was born on Sept. 23 and is the first child for Morneau and his wife, Krista. "It's about someone else now," Morneau said. "Every day I would wake up and go through the checklist of, 'Do I have a headache? How do I feel?' And now I wake up and I see how she is doing. It's not about me anymore. I think that's nice to be able to have that. I think that's a nice distraction now that the playoffs are starting, which is what we all play for." As for what he's learned about concussions, Morneau said that he's had to be more patient than he expected and realize the timetable for his recovery from this type of injury was out of his own control. Although he'd suffered concussions in his youth, including one at age 14 or 15 while playing hockey, and one back in 2005 when he was hit in the head by a pitch from Seattle's Ron Villone, Morneau had never had to miss more than a couple of weeks prior to this current concussion. But while this injury has kept Morneau off the baseball field for over three months, he said that doctors have assured him that concussions don't get progressively worse if you suffer more of them. As long as the previous concussion has healed, then another one would be considered a new injury. Morneau has undergone a couple baseline tests to see how he's doing, and everything has shown that he's well on his way to being healthy. "From where it was the day after the concussion, the numbers have increased and that's proof it's getting better," Morneau said of the tests. "It's just not back to where it needs to be."
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.