Kent Hrbek, another Twins first baseman and cleanup hitter hampered by injuries during his career, watched from the dugout as Justin Morneau took batting practice.
Corey Koskie, another Canadian-born Twin whose career was altered by a concussion, spoke on the phone from Minnesota as Morneau took his swings.
On the day Morneau revealed doubt about his ability to overcome concussion symptoms, Hrbek articulated Morneau's fears, and Koskie embodied them.
"It's spooky,'' Hrbek said. "You can live with a hurt leg or arm after you're done playing. When you start messing with your coconut, it's a whole different story. He'd like to live past his 40s, if he could, and not be pushed around in a wheelchair because he screwed himself up.''
Injuries shortened Hrbek's career but did not damage his life. Koskie's injury ended his career and left him temporarily unable to drive, read, watch television or play with his children.
Friday morning, Morneau called his battle with concussion symptoms "torture'' and admitted he couldn't continue to play baseball if they persist. He also revealed that he stays in touch with Koskie, his old friend.
Koskie said he doesn't give Morneau medical advice but sympathizes with anyone trying to recover from the most mysterious and insidious injury in modern sports.
"There are psychological and emotional aspects of dealing with a concussion that are hard for people to understand,'' Koskie said. "You walk into a clubhouse and you sense all the second-guessing and side-eyeing.
His future beyond his control, Morneau sounds resigned to it
Minneapolis Star Tribune | Feb 25