The good news? Justin Morneau feels like he is making progress from post-concussion symptoms that have limited him to just 150 games over the past two seasons combined. However, his recovery remains an exercise in patience.
In this interview with MLB Network, linked by Charlie Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Morneau describes how frustrating the ordeal can be.
“Most days, I wake up I feel pretty good. Usually after I get done – I really exert myself, really working out hard – after a long day, your brain gets tired and everything gets so worn down. It’s not functioning the way it’s supposed to be, and you kind of get done with the day and you go, ‘Something’s not right.’ And you end up going home and taking a nap for a couple hours or whatever it is, and you wake up and the headache’s still there and you kind of grind through it. But it’s been a lot better lately.”
Morneau is currently participating in different balance drills and exercises in an effort to essentially “reset the brain.” The 30-year-old is also working his way back from procedures on his left knee, left wrist and right foot, but feels “way ahead” of where he was this time last year and hopes to be ready for the start of spring training. The 2006 American League MVP is owed $14 million in each of the next two seasons.
The Twins have reportedly signed free agent shortstop Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported Friday. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman adds that the deal comes with a potential $1.25 million if Aybar reaches the majors, with additional incentives based on plate appearances. He’ll be able to opt out on March 27. The team has yet to confirm the signing.
Aybar, 34, is now four years removed from his career year in 2014. He’s been in a state of steady decline since then, slashing just .234/.300/.348 with seven home runs and 11 stolen bases over 370 plate appearances for the Padres in 2017. His poor performance wasn’t helped by a fractured left foot, either, which cost him almost six weeks on the disabled list.
Still, the Twins see something promising in the veteran infielder, and reportedly intend to use him as another utility option this spring. Per Neal, Aybar will join fellow backup infielders Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza and may even (temporarily) take over for Miguel Sano at third base if Sano isn’t able to shape up for the role by Opening Day.