Span, too, finds it tough going after DL

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 8, 2011 - 1:00 AM

Denard Span has had a rough go of it since coming back from his concussion suffered when he slid into Royals catcher Brayan Pena.

Photo: Charlie Riedel, Associated Press - Ap

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Add Denard Span to the list of Twins players who have struggled mightily after returning from the disabled list.

Span went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in Sunday's 7-0 loss to the White Sox, leaving him 1-for-20 since coming back from his concussion.

"I didn't expect to come back in and be where I was before I got hurt," said Span, who was batting .300 on June 3, when he suffered his concussion.

"But it's been tough. I don't even feel like I'm being competitive up there. I can't remember the last time I've had this many three-pitch strikeouts. I think I've had four in the last five games. I'm not used to doing that."

Other players who struggled after returning from the DL include Joe Mauer (3-for-25), Tsuyoshi Nishioka (4-for-27) and Delmon Young, who went 1-for-16 in May after his first stint on the DL for a strained oblique.

"I'm just battling," Span said. "I'm going to continue to come here every day with a new attitude, and try to do the best I can."

Duensing can't deliver

Brian Duensing entered Sunday with 4-0 career mark against the White Sox with a 2.51 ERA.

But this time, he was charged with five runs (four earned) over 6 1/3 innings.

"My game plan was to try and get back to my strengths, which was throwing sinkers down and then throw [inside] to keep them honest," Duensing said. "I threw sinkers, but they were up, and then I threw [inside] and it was up."

Over his past four starts, Duensing is 1-3 with a 6.46 ERA.

"I didn't execute very well again," he said. "I was looking at some video already, and I think it's really my release point. I'm not getting out front very much, so that's why the ball's up in the zone."


• Besides Danny Valencia, manager Ron Gardenhire also sat Young, who is batting .229 in day games, compared to .287 at night. Ben Revere started in left field and went 1-for-4 with a double. He also had hits stolen by White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham and first baseman Brent Lillibridge.

• Gardenhire said he has asked Trevor Plouffe to take some grounders at third base. The Twins believe third base might be Plouffe's best defensive position after shortstop, but of late he has played more at second base.

• In his Sunday morning radio show on 1500ESPN, Gardenhire said Kevin Slowey would be an option, but not the first option, if the Twins replace one of their starting pitchers. The first option would be Anthony Swarzak, Gardenhire said.

• Alex Wimmers, the 2010 first-round draft pick who had some troublesome control problems earlier this season, tossed four scoreless innings of relief for Class A Fort Myers on Saturday, with one walk and six strikeouts. In six relief appearances since coming off the disabled list, the 6-2 righthander has 23 strikeouts and eight walks in 17 innings out of the bullpen. He could be ready to rejoin Fort Myers' starting rotation soon.

Staff writer Alex Prewitt contributed to this notebook.


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