The characterization of Justin Morneau’s status hasn’t changed: a couple of weeks ago Bill Smith said the team as “optimistic” about him, and yesterday he said the same thing. But there is reason to be a little more optimistic today than we were before, because Smith now says that Morneau should be swinging a bat by the first of February.
Maybe I’m just reading too much into this, but earlier assessments had the optimism being about going to work by the time spring training rolls around. If he’s swinging a bat two weeks before pitchers and catchers report, however, perhaps he’ll he’ll be at or near full speed by then as opposed to merely present and accounted for.
This might just be splitting hairs, but there are few teams with as unsettled a situation with an important piece as the Twins are with Morneau, so a little word-parsing is justified.