Justin Morneau could be out for playoffs

DETROIT -- Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire doesn't expect to have slugger Justin Morneau back for the postseason.

That doesn't mean he has given up all hope, though.

"My opinion is that we are running out of time -- he just hasn't done enough baseball activities to be ready for the playoffs," Gardenhire said after Friday night's 10-1 loss to the Detroit Tigers. "But that's my opinion -- not the opinion of a doctor or of anyone else. I'll be happy if I'm wrong."

Gardenhire said much the same thing on a radio show earlier Friday, setting off an Internet firestorm. Morneau has been sidelined since sustaining a concussion in a July 7 game against Toronto.

"I was just giving a simple answer to the question they asked me, but apparently it has been all over Twitter and blogs that I ended his season," he said. "That's not at all what I was saying. I just know he had a baby and he's been recovering, and there isn't a lot of time left."

With the minor league season done, Morneau would have to go to the Instructional League for rehab at-bats.

"Believe me, if they tell me he can play, I'll have him in the Instructional League in a heartbeat," Gardenhire said. "Honestly, though, our focus is making sure he's healthy for spring training. Anything we get beyond that is a triple bonus."

Morneau was hitting a career-best .345 with 18 homers and 56 RBIs in 81 games at the time of the injury, but the Twins have rallied to go 47-21 without him.

Minnesota has already clinched a second straight American League Central title and currently is tied with Tampa Bay for the best record in the AL.