Concussion aftereffects lingering for Span


Twins center fielder Denard Span

Photo: Ross D. Franklin, Associated Press

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CLEVELAND - Twins outfielder Denard Span was cleared by doctors to resume play Aug. 2 after missing nearly two months because of a concussion. But Span said Sunday that he doesn't feel he's fully recovered.

He even asked to have Sunday off. The request came Saturday.

"I don't feel 100 percent," Span said. "I kind of wanted to regroup [Sunday], especially with the early game and see how I felt [Monday].

"I'm on new medication. My body is still getting used to that. I'm trying the best I can. I'm battling and trying to have fun."

Span said he felt he would be ready to play Monday at Detroit, but manager Ron Gardenhire is concerned about putting him in the lineup.

"We're taking a step back, talking to the trainers and the GM [Bill Smith]," Gardenhire said. "When a player expresses doubt about being out there, that makes me nervous. We're going to do some more talking here."

Span is only 2-for-35 since his return to the lineup. That includes a 0-for-27 skid that was the Twins' longest hitless streak since Mike Ryan went 0-for-27 in 2005. Span also said he's a little concerned about colliding with the outfield wall while chasing batted balls.

"It's getting better," he said. "I'm still seeing the ball better but I still don't think my instincts are where they should be. I've been trying to battle with that, but as far as my at-bats, I have been seeing the ball a little better than a week ago but it is still not where I want to be. And that's not good to be trying to compete, when you're not feeling the way you should be feeling."

Everybody gets a day off

In addition to Span, Joe Mauer, Tsuyoshi Nishioka and Michael Cuddyer weren't in the lineup Sunday for various reasons. Mauer and Nishioka needed a break; Cuddyer has a sore neck that cost him the entire Indians series, but he hopes to play Monday.

The game was called following a rain delay of 2 hours, 55 minutes. No makeup date has been announced. The Twins return to Cleveland on Sept. 23-25, so it's expected the game would be made up then.

Cleveland led 1-0 when the delay began during the top of the third. Twins righthander Kevin Slowey gave up a RBI single to Shin-Soo Choo in the first inning for the only run of the game, but all the stats from Sunday's two-plus innings are wiped out because of the rainout.

Deadline dealing

Clubs have until 11 p.m. Monday to sign their picks from the June draft. The Twins are trying to complete deals with first-round pick Levi Michael, a shortstop from the University of North Carolina, and sandwich picks Travis Harrison, a third baseman from Tustin (Calif.) High School, and Hudson Boyd, a righthander from Bishop Verot High in Fort Myers, Fla.

Deron Johnson, the Twins' scouting director, is in the Twin Cities to help negotiate deals. Assistant GM Ron Antony is assisting as well.

"We're making progress," Johnson said, "but we still have a ways to go. This is one of those years in which everything is going down to the wire."

The two players drafted before Michael, the 30th overall pick, signed for $1.134 million and $1,116 million, which Baseball America estimates is the league's recommendation. The recommendation for Michael is $1.089 million.

Michael could be holding out for more money. As a junior, he could return to North Carolina for his senior year.

Indications are Harrison (the 50th overall pick) and Boyd (55th) are looking for more than the league's recommendation, which is $705,000 for Harrison and $653,400 for Boyd.

The Twins remain confident they will sign all three, but time is running out.

Near future impact?

The Twins looked at other options before they called up Trevor Plouffe from Class AAA Rochester to replace the injured Alexi Casilla. One of them was shortstop Brian Dozier.

Dozier 24, began the season at Class A Fort Myers, where he batted .322 in 49 games. He was promoted to Class AA New Britain, where he entered Sunday batting .315 with 10 stolen bases. Dozier has played second and third for the Rock Cats, but mostly shortstop.

Gardenhire, on his weekly radio show on 1500ESPN, said Dozier could be part of the picture in 2012.

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