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Denard Span.

Jeff Wheeler, Dml - Star Tribune Star Tribune

Span a fan of adding two wild-card berths

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN
  • Star Tribune
  • April 23, 2011 - 9:14 PM

The Twins have made six postseason appearances over the past nine years without needing the wild card, since they have won the American League Central Division each time.

But center fielder Denard Span is among the players in favor of seeing Major League Baseball add two more wild-card berths for 2012 -- one for each league -- which would make it a 10-team playoff field.

"I think it'd be better, because there are teams that have good seasons but don't make the playoffs because they're in tough divisions," Span said.

An expanded playoff field would have to be negotiated by the players and owners through collective bargaining, and the current agreement expires in December. This week, Commissioner Bud Selig said baseball is moving toward adding two more wild-card berths.

The fourth and fifth seed in each league would meet in a three-game series -- or perhaps a one-game showdown -- with the winner advancing to play the top seed.

Span strongly favors a three-game series, and Twins manager Ron Gardenhire agrees.

"It seems like an awful lot of baseball to go to a one-game shootout," Gardenhire said.

Gardenhire said the other concern is seeing the baseball season stretch deeper into the fall.

"As long as we don't start playing Christmas music when the season's still going on, I think we'll all be happy," he said.

Young's return delayed

Twins left fielder Delmon Young tested his sore ribs with some more swings in the batting cage Saturday and told Gardenhire he was at about 80 percent.

Gardenhire said Young, who hasn't played since Monday at Baltimore, is now aiming to return to the lineup Tuesday, when the Twins play Tampa Bay.

Pitching decisions

Francisco Liriano was scheduled to pitch Saturday against Cleveland, but after Friday's rainout, the Twins moved his next start to Tuesday.

Gardenhire said the move was made to separate Liriano and Brian Duensing -- both lefthanders -- in the rotation.

Duensing pitched Saturday, going seven innings in the Twins' 10-3 victory, and righthander Carl Pavano will pitch Sunday, as originally scheduled.

Slowey update

Injured Twins reliever Kevin Slowey (right shoulder bursitis) gave up one run on one hit in an inning of work in a rehab outing for Class A Fort Myers against Charlotte on Saturday night. He walked one and struck out one.

He was scheduled to pitch in an extended spring training game in the morning, but a decision was made to move that outing to the evening, so the righthander had enough time to get loose.

Slowey tentatively is scheduled to throw 45 to 50 pitches Wednesday for Fort Myers.

Uniform watch

The Twins wore their home white uniforms Saturday. Last year, they wore their 1961 throwbacks on Saturdays, but that's an alternate uniform now that they can wear at any time. The Twins leave the daily uniform choice to the starting pitcher.

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