Baseball

Morneau holds out hope for return

Justin Morneau hasn't played in a game in more than two months, and it's been difficult for him to watch his Minnesota Twins slug through a pennant race without him - in more ways than one.

Morneau said on Wednesday that he is still optimistic that he will eventually return from his concussion to help out in 2010, even though he still can’t sit in the dugout to watch a full nine innings.

“To keep the symptoms down they say to limit the stress,” Morneau said with a sheepish shrug.

Easier said than done for a player as competitive as Morneau, the 2006 American League MVP and one of the pillars of the Twins’ clubhouse. He went on the disabled list after taking a knee to the head while sliding into second base July 7 against the Toronto Blue Jays.

He took some batting practice in August and has sat in the dugout for some games at Target Field, but doctors have advised him to take it slowly in those stressful activities to expedite the recovery process.

“We’re late in the game, it’s more wanting to be out there,” Morneau said. “We got a tie game or we’re up by one and we’ve got runners on base, you’re sitting there wanting to be out there. The adrenaline starts going and you starting thinking about what you would do in that situation. We’re just trying to limit that stuff. That’s part of it.”

Morneau hasn’t played since and is still feeling symptoms from the concussion. But he did say he is “having more good days than bad” this week.

“It comes and goes. The last couple days I’ve felt pretty good and been really encouraged,” he said. “It’s going to take a few days like that. It’s not going to be just one or two where I can all of a sudden go out there and play. I have to feel like myself.”

TORRE STAYS MUM ABOUT HIS FUTURE

Joe Torre says he’s waiting to announce whether he’ll return to manage the Los Angeles Dodgers next year.

Torre had previously said he would make the announcement around Labor Day. But he said before Wednesday’s game against the San Diego Padres he is not yet ready to divulge it.

Torre said he’ll announce his decision after the Dodgers clinch a playoff spot or are eliminated.

The Dodgers started the night 10 games behind in the National League West and the wild-card race.

AROUND THE HORN

Roger Clemens’ lawyers argued in court that a defamation lawsuit against Clemens should be thrown out because the seven-time Cy Young Award winner was merely trying to defend himself against his former personal trainer’s doping allegations. Lawyers for the trainer, Brian McNamee, responded by branding Clemens a liar. … Jim Thome’s climb up the home run charts has been put on hold. He was a late scratch for the Twins’ game Thursday because of a mild abdominal strain. He has 586 career homers, tied with Frank Robinson for eighth on the career list. … Injured relievers Damaso Marte (left shoulder) and Alfredo Aceves (lower back) are not expected back in the New York Yankees’ bullpen this season. … Marlins pitcher Josh Johnson has right shoulder inflammation and a strained mid-back, making it unclear when the All-Star will return to the mound. … Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez was held out of the starting lineup Thursday because of a sore back.

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