Span, Morneau latest to sit out

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 5, 2011 - 1:25 AM
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Twins first baseman Justin Morneau

Photo: Marlin Levison, Star Tribune

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KANSAS CITY, MO. - Denard Span and Justin Morneau joined the ever-growing list of Twins casualties Saturday, as neither was in the lineup for their 7-2 victory over the Royals.

Span was scratched because of a sore neck and continued to feel effects from his slide and collision at home plate Friday with Royals catcher Brayan Pena.

Morneau had been playing with a pinched nerve in his neck, which is causing weakness in his left shoulder. But he also has soreness in his left wrist.

Manager Ron Gardenhire said he might extend Morneau's break through Sunday, though he could be available to pinch hit.

"With everybody being out, [Morneau] feels like he should be out there," Gardenhire said. "You finally get to the point where, goodness gracious, give him a break."

Span was trying for an inside-the-park home run when he slid feet-first into Pena, who moved up the third base line to apply the tag and halted Span's momentum. Span said his legs were OK, but he felt dazed with soreness in his neck.

With all the talk about protecting catchers in the wake of Buster Posey's injury, Span's play offered the other side of that coin.

"I looked back at video, honestly I wish I would have gone in with authority because it wasn't a dirty play, but [Pena] stepped way up the line," Span said. "There's been a lot going on with catchers getting hurt, but when you look at the replay, I could have been hurt. He jumped right in front of me as I'm sliding. I could have sprained a knee or sprained an ankle, anything.

"If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't slide, put it that way."

Without Span and Morneau, Saturday's lineup included four players who were in the lineup on Opening Day: Alexi Casilla, Michael Cuddyer, Danny Valencia and Delmon Young.

Mauer update

Joe Mauer is scheduled to begin a rehab stint with Class A Fort Myers. He will DH on Sunday for the Miracle, whose manager is Joe's big brother, Jake.

Joe Mauer caught five innings in an extended spring training game Saturday. He threw out a base stealer and went 1-for-4 with a walk.

Etc.

• Francisco Liriano (left shoulder inflammation) said he didn't feel 100 percent during his bullpen session Saturday but added that pitchers rarely do, and he expects to make his start Tuesday in Cleveland. Anthony Swarzak, who went 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA in two starts in place of Liriano, will be available to pitch out of the bullpen by Monday, Gardenhire said.

• Brian Dinkelman went 1-for-3 in his major league debut. He was hit by the first pitch he saw and was intentionally walked, and he also made a nice diving catch in left field.

• Tsuyoshi Nishioka (broken left fibula) is scheduled to begin a rehab stint with Fort Myers on Monday.

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