- Doug Padilla, ESPN Staff Writer
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Those who know Justin Morneau say he takes the rivalry more seriously than anybody in the Twins clubhouse. Now we might know just how seriously he takes it.
Jesse Crain, who pitched for the Twins for the past seven seasons, said he still hasn't received a call or text of congratulations from Morneau after signing his new contract with the White Sox this winter.
"He never congratulated me; he's the one guy who didn't," Crain said. "Even [Michael] Cuddyer and [Denard] Span and all those guys, [Joe] Mauer, everybody did. But Morneau was the one guy who never did it."
Crain and Morneau, both born in Canada, were good friends and had a solid relationship in the clubhouse, according to Crain. Just how much their friendship will change remains to be seen, but apparently it's already been affected.
Crain tried to downplay the lack of contact.
"I guess that's just the way it is," Crain said. "I'm sure when I see him we'd say, 'Hey' and stuff. I'd hope, at least. He had a lot of stuff going on this winter. He was trying get better and all that, so ... we'll see what happens."
Morneau missed a significant chunk of last season after suffering a concussion. According to White Sox infielder Mark Teahen, who worked out with Morneau in Arizona during the offseason, the former MVP appeared to be doing better.
"He was getting all his tests and stuff before the workouts, but he got through all the workouts," Teahen said. "We did a lot of running and lifting and everything else and he seemed to be fine. All in all he looked healthy to me."
Teahen and Morneau were also former teammates on Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic. So what was the relationship like between the two in the workout room?
"He's a good dude and we're buddies, but when it comes down to the baseball part, he definitely hates the White Sox," Teahen said. "It's nice to have that rivalry and kind of work out with him or against him all offseason."
Told that Morneau still hadn't congratulated his buddy Crain on landing a financially solid deal and winding up with a winning team at the same time, Teahen didn't seem too surprised.
"You know that there's that rivalry there, but with Morneau, he seems to take it hard even off the field," Teahen said. "It was fun to see and it lights your fire to want to have the same passion back the other way."
So when it was time to end the workout routine and head in their respective directions for the start of spring training, was Morneau able to wish Teahen well?
"He gave me a little fist pump and said, 'All right, I'm going to act like I don't know you until the end of the season,'" Teahen said. "I told him I was cool with that."
Doug Padilla covers the White Sox for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.
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