Playing DH helping preserve Morneau's health

Playing DH helping preserve Morneau's health

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- After making his eighth consecutive start at designated hitter, Justin Morneau said that doctors advised him that if he avoids playing first base, it can help reduce the risk of suffering a concussion-related setback.

Morneau, who doubled in Monday's 10-4 loss to mark his third straight game with an extra-base hit, hasn't played first since March 13. He said he hasn't been bothered by any concussion-related issues this spring, but that he's playing it safe by serving as DH for now.

"Not to get into the medical stuff too much, but they said before that if my body gets worn down too much, I'm more vulnerable to having the symptoms reoccur," said Morneau, who suffered his initial concussion in July 2010. "The chance of going backward is when I get worn down. I can have the fogginess and the headaches, and all that stuff can return if my system gets too worn down. Then I'm in a vulnerable position."

Morneau added there's still a chance he may start the season at first base, but he's been able to play more this spring because he's mostly served as DH. He's already racked up 54 at-bats (he's hitting .167 with four extra-base hits) in 13 games.

"It's one of those things where am I in the clear, yes," Morneau said. "But is there still a possibility in the end that things could go backward? A very, very small possibility. So I think that's kind of where the DH thing is based."