Morneau to return to first before Interleague Play

Morneau to return to first before Interleague Play

Morneau to return to first before Interleague Play
MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that Justin Morneau will see time at first base before Interleague Play starts in mid-May, but wouldn't give a specific date for Morneau's return to the infield.

Morneau was penciled in at designated hitter for the eighth straight game on Saturday against the Rangers, and hasn't played first base since starting there on March 13 in Spring Training. But Gardenhire said that Morneau will start at first before the Twins head to Milwaukee on May 18, when they don't have the luxury of using a designated hitter.

"We'll get him out there, believe me," Gardenhire said. "It'll be before Milwaukee. We don't want him going out there cold turkey in a National League game. But we've got time."

Morneau has been taking infield before every game, and said he also expects to be play some first base before that series in Milwaukee.

"I've been over there, trying to keep myself in shape, my legs in shape, and to stay sharp for whenever I get out there," Morneau said. "It's just a matter of time."

Morneau entered Saturday's game hitting .231 with a homer and two doubles, and said he's still trying to adjust to serving as designated hitter. He said Thursday that he plans on calling former Twins DH Jim Thome for advice.

"I don't want to go down [into the cage] and swing every inning and end up doing more than I would if I were actually in the game, so it's different," Morneau said. "I need to take enough to stay loose but not take too much. I'm trying to find the right balance. ... "For the most part the goal is just to stay warm and stay in the game, and not feel like you're pinch-hitting four times in a game."