DETROIT -- Justin Morneau said he could feel something in the back of his right rib-cage area after swinging and missing in his third strikeout against Justin Verlander. This is a muscular injury, not a spine injury, and it's in a completely different area than the one that ended his season last year.

“It’s day-to-day right now,” Morneau said after the Twins' 2-0 victory over the Tigers. “See how it feels when I get up in the morning. I can’t see it being more than a couple days.”

* Denard Span went with Manager Ron Gardenhire to apologize to home plate umpire Paul Emmel after the game.

"I embarrassed myself more than anything," Span said. "I didn’t embarrass [Emmel], I embarrassed myself. People at home looking, kids and all that. I was raised better than that. To let go of my bat, I shouldn’t have done that."

* It was clear Tigers righthander Justin Verlander was pitching around Jim Thome to get to J.J. Hardy tonight. Thome couldn't score from first on Hardy's fourth-inning double, but the big guy was able to score when left fielder Ryan Raburn dropped Hardy's fly ball in the sixth.

"Thome was mad at himself that he didn’t score on the first double," Gardenhire said. "So he said, 'I’m definitely going to score on this one.'"

I wondered if Gardenhire was referencing some flaw in Thome's running technique on Hardy's double.

"Have you seen him run?" Gardenhire said. "There’s not really a struggle to it. That’s not a good word. He has one speed, and it’s not as high as a lot of guys."

Also, here are some items that were trimmed from earlier versions of my Twins notes:

* Anthony Slama has five saves and a 1.35 ERA for Class AAA Rochester, but the Twins appear in no hurry to bring him to the big leagues.

Slama is 26, so it’s not like the Twins are concerned about rushing a young prospect. They do want him to show better command, as he entered Tuesday with seven walks to go with his 16 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings.

Slama is not on the 40-man roster, which might sound odd, considering his age and continued success. He was a senior at the University of San Diego when the Twins drafted him in the 39th round of the 2006 draft. The Twins won’t be obligated to protect Slama on their 40-man roster until after this season, his fourth as a professional.

* The Twins will face Tigers righthander Max Scherzer for the first time Wednesday night, so several hitters will be brushing up on his strengths and weaknesses.

Scherzer, 25, leads Detroit’s rotation with a 2.63 ERA, with 17 strikeouts and seven walks in four starts, spanning 24 innings. He came to the Tigers in the trade that sent pitcher Edwin Jackson to the Diamondbacks. While with Arizona, Scherzer teamed with Twins closer Jon Rauch.

“He’s got top-starter stuff,” Rauch said. “He’s got an explosive fastball, good slider, good change-up. I think the biggest thing for him is just being confident in his stuff, maybe minimizing the amount of pitches he throws.”

Rauch and Scherzer are both overcoming the perception that National League pitchers have a harder time when switching to the American League.

“I think the quality of hitters is better in the American League, but at the same time, you still have quite a few really, really good lineups in the National League,” Rauch said. “When you look at the Phillies, Dodgers, Rockies and Cardinals -- a lot of these teams still have high quality lineups that you have to work your way through. I think the biggest thing is making pitches, regardless of who’s at the plate.”

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Morneau leaves game with back stiffness

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