MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 24: Justin Morneau #33 of the Minnesota Twins reacts after striking out against the Baltimore Orioles in the eighth inning on August 24, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Orioles defeated the Twins 6-1. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Justin Morneau hinted Friday at the possibility of retirement if he's unable to overcome the concussion symptoms that have plagued the Minnesota Twins first baseman the past few seasons.
Justin Morneau probably hasn't had a fair shake at his MLB career as the 30-year-old has played just 150 games over the past two seasons while dealing with a multitude of injuries. Concussions have been the biggest problem, however, and it's apparently caused the Minnesota Twins first baseman to consider retirement.
The former AL MVP talked to the media on Friday morning in Fort Meyers and, judging from the quotes pulled from his availability with the press, this could be the last Spring Training he puts himself through if the injuries continue to add up.
It's become an unfortunate reality for athletes that concussions need to be treated much more delicately than other injuries so it shouldn't be surprising that Morneau answered with the following when asked if he's contemplated his concussion symptoms ending his career:
"Obviously it's crossed my mind, and something I've had to think about," Morneau told 1500 ESPN. "But when that stuff comes into my mind I just continue to look for something positive and look how far I've come in the last week, or how far I've come in the last month, or whatever it is, and just continue to hope it goes well."
Morneau plans on beginning his Spring Training duties on Friday, and while he's planning on pacing himself, it doesn't sound as though any of the other injuries he's had to dealt with will be a problem. The concussion symptoms, though -- that's a serious issue.
"I don't think there'll be a career if it's something I'm dealing with," Morneau said. "That's the reality of the whole thing. I've kind of come to grips with that. I'm obviously not going to continue to mess around with this if it continues to be a problem. There comes a point when you can only torture yourself so long. It's something I love to do, but you keep preparing and keep being let down, that's something that nobody wants to go through, obviously. It's been a tough winter that way. I try not to think about that kind of stuff."
When Morneau was at his best, likely during his 2006 AL MVP campaign, he was excellent and changed quite a few games with his ability to hit the ball. The Twins could really use that sort of production in the lineup in the upcoming years -- and Morneau could likely continue to give it to them -- but the fact of the matter is that his health is more important.
Minnesota sports fans have already witnessed the effects of too many concussions in the untimely and unfortunate death of former Minnesota Wild defenseman Derek Boogaard this past summer. It'd be tragic to see another player suffer the same fate.
Hopefully the concussions symptoms subside and Morneau can get back to hitting bombs. If he can't, however, nobody's going to blame him for getting out while he still can.