Justin Morneau was all smiles following his first live action since a concussion on July 7, 2010 left him out for the remainder of the season.
Morneau batted fourth in a "B" game against the Pirates. He received a nice round of applause as he approached the plate for his first at-bat and hit into a fielder's choice, which left him on first base.
Morneau came up to bat one more time, with the bases loaded and no outs. The big Canadian first baseman came through with a bases-clearing double down the right field line.
As reported by Twins beat writer Kelly Thesier, Morneau decided to play Tuesday after speaking with his doctor Monday for one hour.
"They said it's the same risk as anybody else," Morneau said. "When I heard that, it kind of eased my mind a little bit and let me know that we can go out there and play the game that we love to play."
Morneau was insistent that this is a process, but is cautiously optimistic the concussion is now behind him after seven months of frustration.
"We figured now is as good a time as any to see if the body is ready for this, and all signs and all the data and everything else points to being ready for this," Morneau said following the game this morning.
With Morneau coming back rather early into spring training, the Twins organization and the Twins fanbase should be in high spirits for Morneau to possibly be manning first base come Opening Day against the Toronto Blue Jays on April 1.
Also of note from the Tuesday morning game, Delmon Young made his spring training debut this morning, batting third as the designated hitter in front of Morneau in the lineup. He walked twice.
Kevin Slowey took the mound in the game and had a great outing. He pitched three hitless innings with three strikeouts. Slowey is currently battling last season's Opening Day starter, Scott Baker, for the fifth spot in the starting rotation.
Carl Pavano, Francisco Liriano, Brian Duensing and Nick Blackburn have all been assured spots in the five-man rotation by Twins manager Ron Gardenhire.