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Wednesday March 16, 2011 6:33 pm

Injured Twins poised for Opening Day return




Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, Injuries, MLB,

Joe MauerWhen the Minnesota Twins arrived in Florida in mid-February, they put a new spin on the purpose of the preseason. The point of Spring Training is to get back into shape after the winter, but for the Twins, it was an opportunity to recover from some serious injuries to key players. All of catcher Joe Mauer, first baseman Justin Morneau and closer Joe Nathan are back in action and look like they’ll be ready to play come Opening Day.

Mauer has been hampered by left knee surgery in the offseason but has been receiving shots as part of his recovery. He’s caught several bullpen sessions this spring, but saw his first game when he was DH for the Twins against the Mets on Wednesday. Justin Morneau is finally looking better since suffering a concussion last July, and Joe Nathan missed all of 2010 after having Tommy John surgery to repair his throwing arm.

Nathan has been in several games already this spring, and Morneau has even seen his first action as well. Whether either of them will be ready by April 1 is still debatable, but chances are good they will. Nathan has been one of the best closers in baseball from 2004-2009, averaging 41 saves a season during that stretch. Morneau was on pace for an MVP-type season last year too before his injury.

Two AL MVP honors, 12 All-Star Game appearances, six Silver Slugger awards and three Gold Gloves are a lot of accolades to replace, and the Twins will be happy they won’t have to do it for another season. Getting any of Mauer, Morneau or Nathan back would be a huge boost to an already threatening lineup. Getting back all three will be like stamping a one-way ticket to the postseason.

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