MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -Justin Morneau said his first night in the hospital after a collision with Florida Marlins catcher Miguel Olivo was a scary one.
Once doctors determined that his bruised right lung was not a serious injury, Morneau became the butt of jokes.
``It was a little embarrassing,'' he said Tuesday, his first day back with the Minnesota Twins since being injured in Miami on Friday. ``You run the catcher, the catcher's supposed to fall over, not you. I got a few messages for that one.''
The reigning AL MVP said he still isn't sure when he will return to the lineup, but is hoping sometime in the next few days. He had a CT scan Tuesday that still showed some damage from the hit, but said he was feeling better every day.
``Hopefully, as soon as possible, but I don't want to put a date on it,'' Morneau said when asked about his return. ``It should be, hopefully, in the next couple of days, but you don't want to push it too much and then have something come back and all of a sudden I'm out for two or three weeks.''
Morneau said he still has some general soreness in his chest, ``but nothing I'm taking any crazy painkiller for.''
Morneau came around third base and slammed into Olivo awkwardly and immediately crumbled to the ground. The ball scooted by Olivo, and Morneau had the presence of mind to touch home plate, but he left the game after that.
``It was pretty scary. After it happened, I thought I just got the wind knocked out of me and then I get up and I got back to the dugout and started coughing,'' Morneau said. ``Then I'm coughing and spitting up blood and anytime that happens, that's real scary.''
Morneau was taken from the stadium on a stretcher and stayed in a Miami hospital for three days before returning to the Twin Cities on Monday.
``It wasn't too sore, but once we got back in the clubhouse it started to get real sore and I started to get a little bit worried and that probably didn't help anything,'' Morneau said. ``We get over to the hospital and everything looked to be all right and it was just kind of a lot waiting around to get the tests done and make sure everything was OK.''
Once all the fears had subsided, Morneau started taking some abuse from friends such as Minnesota Wild wing Mark Parrish and former Twin Corey Koskie.
``Koskie asked me if I wanted him to come over and teach me how to run over the catcher,'' Morneau said with a smile. ``He could set his kids up and start with his youngest one, who is 1 1/2 or whatever. So, I told him that was real good.
``Parrish asked me if (Vancouver defenseman and Morneau buddy) Willie Mitchell taught me how to hit. That was good stuff.''
All joking aside, Morneau's injury has put manager Ron Gardenhire in a tough spot. He has used veteran Jeff Cirillo at first base primarily since Morneau went down, but Cirillo had a rough game there on Monday in an 8-5 loss to the Blue Jays and his achy knees kept him out on Tuesday night.
So Gardenhire was forced to move right fielder Michael Cuddyer to first base and put Jason Tyner in right.
``Just have to roll with it,'' Gardenhire said. ``Teams go through it. Obviously we've got some people beat up and stuff, guys just have to step up.''
The timing really couldn't be worse. After the Twins wrap up a four-game series with the Blue Jays on Thursday, they embark on a 10-day, 11-game road trip before the All-Star break.
``Cuddy can handle it. He's played everywhere,'' Morneau said. ``We're doing what we can to fill all the holes right now. We have a lot of guys banged-up. Hopefully I can get back sooner than later and help us win.''
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