Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.

Span and Valencia shaken up in fender bender en route to airport

Posted by: Phil Miller under Twins game coverage Updated: September 23, 2011 - 6:05 PM

CLEVELAND -- In the year of injuries for the Twins, this story takes the cake. (True story, mind you. I'm not making this up.)

Denard Span and Danny Valencia are not in tonight’s lineup because they had a fender bender Thursday on the way to the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport from Target Field.

Valencia was sitting as the passenger in his Range Rover Sport, with his fiancee driving. Span was following them in his Range Rover. The accident happened after they turned from I-35 onto Hwy 62 East.

"You’re on 35, you make a left onto 62," Valencia said. "It was bumper-to-bumper traffic, so it was stop and go. I stopped, [Span] goed."

The Twins have used the disabled list 24 times this year, but this was a first.

"We need a rabbit’s foot," Valencia said. "We have bad luck, and it’s unfortunate because when you think it can’t get any worse, it does. Yesterday was a positive day considering we just had a great walk-off win, our first win in about two weeks, and the next thing you know, I think I had a bomb dropped on my car."

They could laugh about it today because it doesn’t appear anyone was seriously hurt. Span said he was going only about 10 mph when he made contact. Valencia said they all suffered whiplash. His fiancee is being checked by a doctor today. Valencia and Span have lingering headaches today but both hope to play in Saturday's doubleheader.

It would be funnier if Span weren’t dealing with concussion and migraine symptoms this year.

"I’m laughing, but it’s not funny," Span said. "It’s been a rough year for me. I just played Wednesday, and for something like this to happen, it’s just been rough for me. I'm fortunate. It could have been a lot worse."

With Span and Valencia unavailable tonight, the Twins are down to two position players on their bench: Rene Rivera and Matt Tolbert.

None of this has stopped teammates from razzing these guys. According to Manager Ron Gardenhire, Carl Pavano's advice for Valencia was, "Sue him! Sue him for everything!"

Around the horn

From the Twins’ game notes, here’s a position-by-position breakdown of the team’s offensive performance.

DH -- .246 AVG, .332 OBP, 25 HR
C -- .181 AVG, .243 OBP, 4 HR (lowest catcher batting average in MLB)
1B -- .303 AVG, .357 OBP, 16 HR
2B -- .232 AVG, .281 OBP, 9 HR
3B -- .244 AVG, .289 OBP, 14 HR
SS -- .234 AVG, .289 OBP, 3 HR
LF -- .242 AVG, .293 OBP, 5 HR
CF -- .269 AVG, .325 OBP, 3 HR
RF -- .267 AVG, .332 OBP, 18 HR

The Indians will be honoring Jim Thome tonight, and it'll be a love fest, with the Twins here, too.

TWINS (60-95)

1. Ben Revere, CF
2. Trevor Plouffe, SS
3. Michael Cuddyer, RF
4. Chris Parmelee, 1B
5. Luke Hughes, 3B
6. Brian Dinkelman, 2B
7. Rene Tosoni, DH
8. Joe Benson, LF
9. Drew Butera, C

Starting pitcher: RH Carl Pavano (8-13, 4.40 ERA)

INDIANS (66-90)

1. Kosuke Fukodome, RF
2. Jason Kipnis, 2B
3. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
4. Jim Thome, DH
5. Shelley Duncan, LF
6. Jason Chisenhall, 3B
7. Matt LaPorta, 1B
8. Ezequiel Carrera, CF
9. Lou Marson, C

Starting pitcher: RH Justin Masterson (12-10, 3.15 ERA)

Progressive Field. First pitch: 6:20 p.m. (Central). TV: FSN. Twins Radio Network

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