Twins trade targets waiting, wondering

Denard Span, Justin Morneau and Josh Willingham will all draw interest from teams.


Justin Morneau

Photo: Marlin Levison, Star Tribune

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Of the Twins players mentioned as trade targets in recent weeks, Francisco Liriano always appeared to be the one most likely to be dealt.

With Liriano now trying on new White Sox, that leaves outfielders Denard Span and Josh Willingham and first baseman Justin Morneau who have been mentioned in reports.

There are teams looking for offensive help before Tuesday's nonwaiver trade deadline. Indications have been that the Twins have not been as willing to deal those three as they were Liriano.

One phone call -- and the right offer -- could change all that. But, for now, expect Span, Willingham and Morneau to remain Twins.

Span admitted that he's wondered about his near future.

"I'd be lying to you if I tell you I don't think about it or it's not on my mind," said Span, who was in trade rumors last year, as well. "You can't control it. You just hope you can make it through the trade deadline. Either way, whatever happens, I'll take it in stride."

Morneau added: "Obviously, I'm here, I'm part of this team. I enjoy playing here, this is where I want to be. Outside of that, I can't really control much."

Twins General Manager Terry Ryan was joined over the weekend by Vern Followell, Twins pro scouting coordinator, and Mike Radcliff, director of player personnel, as they prepare for the final push to the deadline.

If the Twins are to deal any one of those three players, the package likely will have to include quality pitching.

"This is a difficult time of year for a lot of people, and it's my most important time of the year for this franchise, I think it's fair to say," Ryan said. "I know it's not easy for the players to hear their names in the rumors that go around in that clubhouse. A lot of the blogs or the e-mails and the sites, you pull up those sites, there are rumors about 10 guys in that clubhouse. Some of it's nonsense. Some of it might have some validity."

Manship up

The Twins called up righthander Jeff Manship from Class AAA Rochester to take Liriano's spot on the roster.

Manship is 6-2 with a 2.35 ERA at Rochester but struggled when called up by the Twins in May, posting a 10.97 ERA in 102/3 innings.

Setback for Wimmers

Ryan said that righthander Alex Wimmers, the Twins' first- round draft pick in 2010, is going to have another MRI on his right elbow. Wimmers pitched two-thirds of an inning last Monday for the Twins rookie team in the Gulf Coast League but "it didn't go well," Ryan said.

It's another setback for Wimmers, who overcame severe control problems last season to finish the season strong. He made one start for Class AA New Britain but was placed on the disabled list because of a strained elbow. He received two opinions about his elbow, both recommending rehab, before trying to pitch last week.

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