Span feels good enough to return

A good batting practice session led to a mutual decision putting him back at the top of the Twins lineup.


Denard Span

Photo: Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - After early batting practice Thursday, Twins outfielder Denard Span went into Ron Gardenhire's office at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington and said, "I want to play."

Gardenhire's response: "That's fine with me. I want you to play."

Span got two hits and a walk in six plate appearances during the Twins' 10-6 loss to Texas.

And that ended 10 days of wondering when Span, slowed by a sore clavicle and neck, would return to the lineup.

Span arrived at the park not planning to play. But he had a good batting practice session, then lifted weights. He spoke with trainers, saw that a righthanded pitcher, Roy Oswalt, was on the mound and decided to give it a shot -- despite not being 100 percent.

"I feel as close as I will get. [Thursday] was the first day during batting practice that I swung without thinking about pain for the most part," said Span, batting .287 with three homers and 34 RBI. "I realize there is going to be some pain and there is only one way to find out, to go out there and test it out and go from there."

Span thought he would miss just a few games and told the Twins he didn't think he needed to land on the disabled list. He ended up missing nine games. His absence became a bigger ordeal when he revealed earlier this week that claustrophobia makes it difficult for him to endure magnetic resonance imaging exams -- even ones done in open-air MRI machines.

The Twins' decision to not place Span on the DL started to look like a mistake, until Span returned to action Thursday.

The Twins went 2-7 after Span injured himself Aug. 12 while trying to make a tough catch against the Rays. So Gardenhire was relieved to hear that Span was ready to return to the top of the lineup with Ben Revere and help set things up for the heart of the batting order.

"That's what we have been waiting for," Gardenhire said.

Gibson to Rochester

Class AAA Rochester lefthander Pedro Hernandez, one of two players the Twins received for Francisco Liriano last month, has been placed on the disabled list because of a strained rotator cuff. The Red Wings are fighting for a playoff spot and needed a replacement, so the Twins sent righthander Kyle Gibson to the rescue.

Gibson is on the rehabilitation trail following Tommy John elbow surgery last year. In two outings at Class A Fort Myers, Gibson had given up two earned runs over seven innings. Before that, he gave up four earned runs over 142/3 innings for the Twins rookie team in the Gulf Coast League. He's now able to throw 60-65 pitches.

The Twins have been pleased with his progress. The plan for Gibson, the Twins' first-round pick in 2009, is for him to finish with Rochester and then head to Fall Instructional League in Fort Myers, Fla. He's also a candidate to pitch in the Arizona Fall League. He should get a chance with the Twins next season, but he has zero chance of being called up to the majors in September.

"This is not the right place to bring a guy up on a rehab," said Rob Antony, Twins assistant general manager.

Carson sent down

The Twins optioned outfielder Matt Carson to Class AAA Rochester after Thursday's game. To replace him, the Twins recalled righthander Kyle Waldrop, who has a 3.34 ERA in 24 games at Rochester.

Carson was 8-for-21 in five games with the Twins, but with Span able to play the club decided to go back to 13 pitchers.

Willingham scratched

Josh Willingham was scratched about 50 minutes before the first pitch because of a stiff neck after sleeping on it wrong Wednesday night.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Baltimore 2 FINAL
Detroit 15
NY Yankees 5 FINAL
Philadelphia 5
Northeastern 1 FINAL
Boston 2
Miami-Fla 1 FINAL
Miami 7
Pittsburgh 8 FINAL
Toronto 7
San Francisco 4 FINAL
Oakland 9
Cleveland 0 FINAL
Cincinnati 10
Boston College 0 FINAL
Boston 1
Arizona State 0 FINAL
Arizona 4
Boston 79 FINAL
Cleveland 110
LA Lakers 103 FINAL
Charlotte 104
Sacramento 124 FINAL
New York 86
Houston 96 FINAL
Atlanta 104
Utah 93 FINAL
Memphis 82
Washington 92 FINAL
Chicago 97
Milwaukee 95 FINAL
Denver 106
Nashville 1 FINAL
New Jersey 3
Calgary 3 FINAL(OT)
Philadelphia 2
Washington 5 FINAL
Columbus 3
Buffalo 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay 3
Toronto 3 FINAL
Florida 2
Ottawa 2 FINAL(SO)
Minnesota 3
NY Islanders 2 FINAL(OT)
Dallas 3
Anaheim 4 FINAL
Arizona 1
Los Angeles 5 FINAL
Edmonton 2
San Jose 6 FINAL
Vancouver 2
Ole Miss 82 FINAL
Alabama 74
Eastern Mich 67 FINAL
Ball State 60
Kent State 81 FINAL
Bowling Green 80
Ohio 66 FINAL
Buffalo 93
Georgetown 60 FINAL
Butler 54
Toledo 77 FINAL
Central Mich 85
Rhode Island 59 FINAL
Dayton 75
Youngstown St 67 FINAL
Detroit 77
North Carolina 81 FINAL
Georgia Tech 49
Loyola-Maryland 45 FINAL
Holy Cross 62
Iowa 77 FINAL
Indiana 63
Akron 63 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 70
Army 52 FINAL
Navy 56
Maryland 60 FINAL
Rutgers 50
Kennesaw St 54 FINAL
USC Upstate 90
Jacksonville 63 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 81
Lipscomb 76 FINAL
Northern Ky 73
Stetson 67 FINAL
North Florida 81
Wright State 57 FINAL
Ill-Chicago 60
Western Mich 63 FINAL
Northern Ill 65
Nebraska Omaha 80 FINAL
North Dakota 78
Houston Baptist 71 FINAL
Abilene Christian 83
NC State 66 FINAL
Clemson 61
Texas A&M 62 FINAL
Florida 66
Kentucky 72 FINAL
Georgia 64
West Virginia 69 FINAL
Kansas 76
Auburn 61 FINAL
Missouri 63
Michigan 78 FINAL
Northwestern 82
Villanova 76 FINAL
Creighton 72
Longwood 55 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 63
Charleston Southern 39 FINAL
Presbyterian 47
Coastal Carolina 54 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 68
UMass Lowell 60
West Virginia 55 FINAL
Kansas State 59
Texas 79
Fresno State 61 FINAL
Air Force 41
San Jose St 76 FINAL
Boise State 91
Nevada 61 FINAL
Colorado State 68
San Diego State 76
Wyoming 61 FINAL
Utah State 57
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Which Twins player are you most interested in during spring training?

Weekly Question