Punto enjoys return trip to Minneapolis

Punto enjoys return trip to Minneapolis

MINNEAPOLIS -- After seven seasons with the Twins, Nick Punto returned to Target Field on Monday. It was the first time he's played against his former club in a regular-season game since leaving after the 2010 season.

Punto played just one season at Target Field, its inaugural year in 2010. He was with Minnesota from 2005-10, spending five seasons in the old Metrodome. He signed with the Red Sox this offseason after winning the World Series with St. Louis last year.

"There's been a lot of turnover. I played with [Joe] Mauer and [Justin] Morneau and [Denard] Span," said Punto, who did not start for Boston in the opener of a three-game series. "A lot of the guys have left. It's always good to see the coaches and front-office people. [Over] seven years, you build a lot of relationships. It's always fun to come back and say hello. ... We had some good times in the 'Dome."

Punto said it was "strange" to see the Twins struggle after they had long been an American League Central contender. Punto's watched Morneau's bounce back this season following a concussion in 2010 that kept biting at Morneau last year.

"Real happy," Punto said. "I watched him play the other night. It was either Sunday Night or Monday Night Baseball, and I got to watch him. He had a big night against the Yankees. And the one thing that really stood out for me was that he dove to his right, kind of jarred his head, and then woke up the next day and I saw him in the lineup. That was nice to see for me.

"It's a scary thing. Like I said, you can fix your knee, you can fix your elbow, it's pretty hard to fix your brain."