While the media and some fans wonder if the Twins can challenge for the division title after an 0-2 start, first baseman/designated hitter Justin Morneau looks for the club to be a contender. He is hitting the long ball like he did when he was the American League MVP in 2006. Morneau appears to be healthy again after being sidelined because of concussion symptoms and various other injuries last season. While much of the attention focused on games missed by Morneau and catcher Joe Mauer because of injuries a year ago, Morneau thinks one of the injuries that was mostly overlooked was the concussion symptoms suffered by outfielder Denard Span. "He's one of the best leadoff hitters in baseball," Morneau said. "He does so many things to set the tone defensively and in center. He's a very good player. "With him at the top and you put [shortstop] Jamey Carroll in there at second [in the batting order], somebody who knows how to hit, our lineup is going to be pretty deep and I think that will give us a chance to win a lot of ballgames." Morneau, like everybody else, knows pitching will be the key to any success for the Twins. "Our pitching staff hopefully will remain healthy," he said. "I think we had four of our five starters ended up on the [disabled list] at some point last year. There's a lot of things coming back this year and obviously a lot of it depends on their health. "But when you have Gardy [Ron Gardenhire] running the team and you have the lineup that we can put out there and the pitching staff, I think we kind of like the underdog role. I think we're going to play a little scrappier. I think we're going to take the extra bases and do all the little things that we need to do to win ballgames. I think that will give us a chance to win and I believe this team can win." Morneau hopes the Twins can be successful despite the loss of free agents Joe Nathan, Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel.
Morneau sees promise in Twins
Minneapolis Star Tribune | Apr 8