Morneau gets hit in spring finale

Published 10:00 am Tuesday, March 29, 2011

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — Even though he had an abbreviated spring training while working his way back from a concussion, Minnesota Twins slugger Justin Morneau thinks he will be ready to go on Opening Day in Toronto.

Morneau capped his spring with a hit in Minnesota’s 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday.

The 2006 AL MVP missed the final three months of last season with the concussion and only played in eight of 29 spring games. He hit .192 (5 for 26) with one RBI, but still hasn’t officially been announced for the Twins’ first game against the Blue Jays on Friday.

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“I feel pretty good,” Morneau said. “I’m starting to feel a lot more comfortable. I kept progressing through spring training. I feel like I got enough at-bats to feel comfortable at the plate.

“I get to leave with the team. So obviously I’m pretty happy. I’ll go to Atlanta and see how it goes. I’ll still continue the process. If everything goes the way it has gone, I’ll be out there for opening day. That’s the plan.”

The Twins play two exhibition games in Atlanta on Tuesday and Wednesday before heading off to Toronto, the site of Morneau’s injury last July 7 when he collided with Blue Jays second baseman John McDonald while trying to break up a double play and missed the rest of the season.

“I’ve thought about that,” Morneau said. “It’s kind of funny, but it is what it is. It’ll be nice to get back there right away and play.”

Jeff Karstens allowed five hits and one unearned run in 4 2-3 innings for the Pirates. He’s hoping to give the team flexibility as either a reliever or a fifth starter.