Span sent home; symptoms similar to 2009

Twins outfielder Denard Span flew back to the Twin Cities on Tuesday to be checked out after dealing with a sore neck and dizziness he has experienced since he was involved in a collision Friday at Kansas City.


Twins outfielder Denard Span (right) flew back to the Twin Cities on Tuesday to be checked out after dealing with a sore neck and dizziness he has experienced since he was involved in a collision Friday at Kansas City.

Photo: John Sleezer, Kansas City Star

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CLEVELAND - Twins outfielder Denard Span flew back to the Twin Cities on Tuesday to be checked out after dealing with a sore neck and dizziness he has experienced since he was involved in a collision Friday at Kansas City.

Span is expected to be examined Wednesday by Twins physician Dr. Tom Jetzer. Some of the symptoms Span is experiencing are similar to what he went through in 2009.

"I'm a little worried because I've felt this feeling before," Span said.

He was scratched from the lineup Saturday, one night after colliding with Royals catcher Brayan Pena when he tried, unsuccessfully, to stretch a triple into an inside-the-park home run. He returned to the lineup Monday in Cleveland, going 0-for-4, then indicated after the game that he didn't feel well.

"He played in the game and said he just never felt really good during the game," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I asked him why he didn't say something to me during the game. He said he didn't want to come out of that ballgame.

"And after the ballgame he told the trainers he just didn't feel good and he was light-headed. That's not a good way to play baseball. When he told me that, I said he's not playing and we'll get him checked out."

In 2009, Span landed on the disabled list because of vestibular neuritis in his right ear. The vestibular nerve sends balance signals to the brain. He recovered and played in 145 games that season, batting .311.

This season, Span is batting .294 with four stolen bases and has been one of the few steady performers on the team.

The decision on whether to place him on the disabled list will come after the injury is diagnosed. Ben Revere will likely take over center field and bat leadoff in his absence.

Valencia sits again

Third baseman Danny Valencia was on the bench for a second game in a row as Luke Hughes started in his place Tuesday.

Gardenhire liked the way Hughes played Monday in the Twins' 6-4 victory over Cleveland and pointed out that Valencia is 0-for-7 against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco.

And Gardenhire indicated he didn't mind if two days off fired up Valencia, who grounded out as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning of Tuesday's 1-0 loss, dropping his batting average to .218.

"It will be good for him because I know his head is going to be spinning and sometimes that's a good thing," Gardenhire said. "Maybe get him fired up and stay focused and have time to work on his swing."

Valencia was in the batting cage doing just that on Tuesday, admitting that he didn't pick up the ball well on Saturday and Sunday in Kansas City.

"Although [not playing Monday] was a much-needed break,'' Valencia said, "the competitor in you wants to be out there."

Infirmary report

• Class A Fort Myers didn't play Tuesday, so catcher Joe Mauer (bilateral leg weakness, shoulder) got the day off and infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka (broken left fibula) worked out. Both continue to make progress. Wednesday, Mauer is scheduled to catch six to nine innings, while Nishioka should play the entire game at shortstop.

• Lefthander Glen Perkins (right oblique strain) threw in the bullpen Tuesday and will play some long toss Wednesday. His next bullpen session will take place later this week in front of Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson.

• Righthander Joe Nathan (sore elbow) threw a light bullpen session and said he felt good.

• Righthander Nick Blackburn threw in the bullpen and said he felt fine after battling a sore back in his last start. He will make his next scheduled start Thursday.

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