Minnesota’s season has been a mess on nearly every possible level, but the biggest long-term worries to come from their miserable 2011 are Justin Morneau’s and Denard Span’s struggles to come back from concussions.
Morneau originally suffered his concussion in the middle of last year, but was recently shut down after experiencing dizziness 15 months later. Span missed two months following his concussion in June, played terribly for a week while dealing with similar symptoms, and was shut down again.
They’re both rehabbing in an effort to play again this season, but time is running out and Span admitted yesterday that his dizziness still “comes and goes” more than three months after his concussion. Morneau’s symptoms are believed to be less prominent, but when asked about his status Ron Gardenhire replied that “it’s up in the air.”
Twins senior director of communications Dustin Morse announced that the Twins will honor former C/1B Joe Mauer by retiring his uniform number 7. Mauer announced his retirement from baseball on November 9.
Mauer will join Harmon Killebrew (No. 3), Tony Oliva (No. 6), Tom Kelly (No. 10), Kent Hrbek (No. 14), Rod Carew (No. 29), Kirby Pucket (No. 34), and Bert Blyleven (No. 28) as Twins to have their numbers retired.
Mauer, 35, spent 15 seasons in the majors, all with the Twins. He posted a career .306/.388/.439 triple-slash line with 143 home runs and 923 RBI. He won the AL MVP Award in 2009, won the batting title three times, earned three Gold Gloves and five Silver Sluggers, and made the AL All-Star team six times. Sadly, his career was limited due to injuries, including a concussion that caused him to move from catcher to first base.
Five years from now, Mauer will appear on the Hall of Fame ballot. There will certainly be some arguments for and against his candidacy. He retired with 55.1 career Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball Reference, which definitely puts him in the conversation. But, as always, there’s never a consensus.