Morneau needs medical clearance to play

Morneau needs medical clearance to play

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins general manager Terry Ryan confirmed that first baseman Justin Morneau will have to be medically cleared to return to action because Morneau ended last season on the disabled list with concussion-like symptoms.

It's part of Major League Baseball's new rules regarding concussions set in place last season. Dr. Gary Green, MLB's medical director, must make a formal approval before Morneau is cleared to return to the field, and Morneau also has to sign off that he's healthy.

But Ryan said that Morneau -- who is only one of four players not in camp yet prior to Thursday's official report date -- is feeling fine and the club doesn't expect any problems getting him cleared.

"There's no reason to think this is anything other than just paperwork, but we can't do anything until Justin Morneau signs off," Ryan said.

Morneau, 30, played in just 69 games last year after battling concussion symptoms, while also undergoing surgeries on his neck, left wrist, left knee and right foot.

His season ended on Aug. 28, when his concussion symptoms -- dating back to his initial concussion suffered in July 2010 -- returned after he attempted to make a routine diving play at first.

Morneau said late last month that he hasn't had concussion symptoms since December and is optimistic those issues are behind him.