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Notes: Morneau back in Minnesota

Notes: Morneau back in Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS -- Justin Morneau was back in the Twin Cities on Monday afternoon, but it's still unclear as to exactly when he will return to the field.

The Twins first baseman was released from a Miami-area hospital on Monday morning after undergoing yet another checkup on his bruised lung. He spent three nights in the hospital after being injured in a home-plate collision with Marlins catcher Miguel Olivo on Friday night.

Morneau showed up at the Metrodome just before Monday night's game vs. the Blue Jays, but he did not stay long enough to speak with reporters.

The plan is for Morneau to be re-evaluated by the team's medical staff on Tuesday morning. The staff wants to see how Morneau reacted to the flight and the amount of soreness he's experiencing in the lung.

As for the concern that Morneau might need to be placed on the 15-day disabled list, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that he didn't think the first baseman would need that much time to recover.

"That's never been talked about," Gardenhire said of a possible DL stint. "I've been told a couple days here."

Gardenhire said the hope is that Morneau could possibly be ready to return to the field as early as Wednesday or Thursday. That only will happen if things progress according to his current schedule.

"Everything checked out fine," Gardenhire said. "Now it's going to depend on how sore he is and when he can get out in the field. As long as it continues on the path he's on, it's fine."

Final season? Jeff Cirillo has approached each of the past few seasons as if it might be his last. But this one might really be the final curtain call for the infielder.

Cirillo reiterated Monday afternoon that he is 80 percent sure that he will retire at the end of the '07 season. The Twins infielder first made the statement on a KSTP AM-1500 radio show Sunday morning.

Knee problems have slowed down Cirillo quite a bit this season, including the arthroscopic knee surgery he underwent on his left knee that caused him to miss three weeks. Since then, Cirillo has also seen his right knee flare up. He received a cortisone shot just two weeks ago for that right knee, but Cirillo said it didn't have much of an effect.

Cirillo has played first base the past few days in place of Morneau, and that hasn't helped reduce the soreness in both knees, either.

"Day-to-day is tough, but I don't really have a choice at this point," Cirillo said.

But it's not his health that is the primary factor in his decision. Instead, it's Cirillo's desire to spend more time with his family that has him leaning toward retirement. Cirillo's wife, Nancy, and their three children reside outside of Seattle.

"It's just a year-to-year basis," Cirillo said of his decision. "Every winter the past two years, I told the Brewers I was going to take a month to see. This past year, at the end, my wife said, 'You're done, that's it.' So then I take a month and let things get settled and then make a better decision."

One thing that hasn't diminished is Cirillo's love for the game. And he said if he decides this is it for him, it's not due to the game no longer being fun.

"I'm not the guy with the best talent out here, but I think my passion for the game is what's helped me stay here so long," Cirillo said. "I don't think the passion and drive for the game will ever go away. I think it's the way I'm wired."

Ready for history: Twins fans will have a chance to witness history during the four-game series with the Blue Jays, as Frank Thomas chases a huge career milestone.

Thomas came into Monday's game just one homer away from 500 for his career. He hit home run No. 499 on Sunday vs. the Rockies.

The Twins have certainly seen their share of Thomas' home runs. The lumbering Blue Jays designated hitter has 49 career homers vs. the Twins -- the most against any club he's faced. Thomas has hit 15 of those 49 home runs in the Metrodome, including one this year on May 25.

"It's going to happen," Gardenhire said of the milestone. "If we can get through four games with him at 499, you've probably done an awful lot."

Acknowledging that history likely will take place is one thing, but Gardenhire just hopes that No. 500 comes at a less than opportune time for the Blue Jays.

"If he makes history, I hope he makes it a solo and we're winning 8-1," Gardenhire said with a smile. "I'll be cheering for him like everyone else then."

Small move: The Twins completed a trade this week, albeit a minor one. The club gave the Nationals the ability to outright 2006 Rule 5 Draft pick Levale Speigner in exchange for center fielder Darnell McDonald. In 73 games for the Nationals' Triple-A Columbus club this season, McDonald hit .315 with two home runs and 41 RBIs. McDonald will report to Triple-A Rochester on Tuesday.

Down on the Farm: Left-hander Jason Miller gave up three runs over five innings to pick up the loss in Triple-A Rochester's 5-2 defeat at Charlotte on Sunday. Doug Deeds hit his sixth home run of the season. ... Shortstop Trevor Plouffe went 2-for-3 with three RBIs, as Double-A New Britain fell at Connecticut, 5-4. ... Yohan Pino gave up just one unearned run over seven innings, but Class A Fort Myers lost at Palm Beach, 4-3. ... First baseman Daniel Berg went 1-for-3 with three RBIs in Class A Beloit's 11-9 loss to Peoria.

Coming up: Twins right-hander Scott Baker (2-2, 6.75 ERA) will try to deliver just his second quality start of the season, as he faces the Blue Jays in a 7:10 p.m. CT start on Tuesday night. Toronto will send right-hander Shaun Marcum (4-2, 3.38) to the mound.

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

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