BLAINE, Minn. -- Justin Morneau may not have been in attendance at TwinsFest this year, but his health was certainly on the minds of all Twins fans.
Twins general manager Bill Smith asked Morneau to stay in Arizona to continue with his workouts rather than travel to Minnesota for the fan festival, as the first baseman continues his recovery from a concussion that ended his season last July.
The Twins and Morneau have both spoken recently about him making progress this offseason, but one person who has gotten to see it firsthand is Twins Minor League outfielder Rene Tosoni. The British Columbia native has spent the past couple of weeks living with Morneau at his home near Phoenix, and has been working out with the first baseman.
"It seems like every day he's getting better," Tosoni said. "Since I've been down there, we're working out full tilt. Nothing is stopping him. He's never said anything to me about his injury or anything. I think everything is good."
Tosoni said the two haven't talked much about the respective injuries that halted their 2010 seasons. Like Morneau, Tosoni also saw his year come to an early end due to a shoulder injury. He underwent surgery in June to repair a torn labrum and some fraying on his rotator cuff. But both are now in the gym together and completing their workouts at the Fischer Sports facility in Phoenix in preparation for Spring Training.
"It's not like he's sitting out of any workouts -- and these workouts are not easy," Tosoni said. "I hadn't worked out at Fischer Sports before. This is my first year, and I feel like my heart rate is going the whole time. He's in there with us the whole way. He doesn't complain about anything.
"He's been throwing with me, and I think this week he's going to start hitting. He's been telling me he's excited about the season."
The Twins certainly aren't pushing Morneau, who has not played in a game since July 7 -- when he suffered his concussion in a game against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. Smith has stressed that the team is focused on the first baseman being ready for Opening Day at Toronto and not necessarily worrying about any specific milestones during Spring Training.
"You can circle April 1 on the calendar, that's the day we're shooting for to get him ready," Smith said during a radio interview with ESPN 1500 this weekend at TwinsFest. "It's still a work in progress. He is not 100 percent, but I've talked to his doctors, I've talked to him. He's getting better all the time."