Concussion symptoms have limited Justin Morneau to 150 games the past two seasons. (AP)Justin Morneau has played in only 150 games for the Minnesota Twins over the past two seasons, due to the effects from a concussion he suffered in July of 2010.
The constant struggle with post-concussion symptoms has clearly taken a toll on Morneau, judging from comments he made while speaking with the media on Friday.
"I don't think there'll be a career if it's something I'm dealing with," Morneau said. "That's the reality of the whole thing. I've kind of come to grips with that. I'm obviously not going to continue to mess around with this if it continues to be a problem. There comes a point when you can only torture yourself so long. It's something I love to do, but you keep preparing and keep being let down, that's something that nobody wants to go through, obviously. It's been a tough winter that way. I try not to think about that kind of stuff."
Dealing with so many setbacks while trying to return to the lineup, let alone his former MVP-level performance, has obviously created plenty of doubt and uncertainty for Morneau. How long can a player keep trying to come back when he's being constantly thwarted by his body, especially from a condition that is so difficult to handle properly?
Morneau said he hasn't encountered any problems since January, but isn't sure just how hard he can go in spring training without possibly triggering concussion symptoms. How might that affect him as he attempts to prepare for the regular season?
Can Morneau be effective if he's holding himself back and worried about hurting himself yet again? Or does the six-week span of Grapefruit League play give him plenty of time to pace himself accordingly?
Several observers have noted how much thinner Morneau looks, the result of changes he made to his diet during the offseason. Even if he stays symptom-free, will he be able to return to his 30-home run form? Or is a leaner Morneau likely to be a better one?
As many questions as we're asking about Morneau in light of his remarks, he could very well be asking many more of himself. Unless he begins to get some answers — more importantly, some positive answers — Morneau sounds like someone ready to decide that the constant struggle just isn't worth it anymore.