MINNEAPOLIS (AP) --Justin Morneau returned to the Minnesota Twins starting lineup Thursday, six days after bruising his right lung in a home plate collision.
Serving as the designated hitter, the reigning AL MVP batted fifth.
``He came into my office today, and we talked about him wanting to get on the field this morning, so we set it up so some guys could hit with him. And he wanted to run around the bases,'' Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said.
During batting practice, Morneau hit the ball to all fields and showed power. At one point he pulled three of four pitches over the right-field baggie.
``He wants to play. He wants in the lineup. I talked to the doctors and trainers, and they said he's ready to go,'' Gardenhire said.
Trying to score from first base on Jason Kubel's double Friday, Morneau crashed into Florida catcher Miguel Olivo. Morneau, who was coughing up blood after the incident, spent three nights in a Miami hospital before returning to the Twin Cities on Monday.
Morneau, second in the AL with 20 home runs and seventh with 57 RBIs, still has some soreness that he'll have to play through.
The team is taking no chances of having him in the field, where he may have to dive for a ball.
``He's going to DH today, and probably the next three days in Detroit, and then we'll move on from there,'' Gardenhire said. ``I'm excited for him and excited for the ballclub.''
Michael Cuddyer started at first base Thursday for the third straight game. Jeff Cirillo played first base twice during Morneau's absence.
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