BOSTON - There's a growing sense among the Twins that Denard Span has secured his big league roster spot beyond Michael Cuddyer's eventual return from the disabled list.

Span has started the past eight games in right field and was 2-for-3 with an RBI single in Tuesday's 6-5 loss to the Red Sox. He is batting .315 with a .413 on-base percentage.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire lobbied to have Span as an extra outfielder even before Cuddyer sprained his left index finger on June 27.

Now, there are indications the front office is open to keeping Span in the majors after Cuddyer returns, even if it means eating salary to cut another player.

When Cuddyer returns to right field -- and the finger remains sore, so it might be several more days -- Span could start three or four games per week, rotating among the three outfield spots.

Is it better for his development to play every day at Class AAA Rochester? Perhaps, but it's July, and the Twins are in a pennant race.

"I have theories and our system has theories on what a guy needs and doesn't need," Gardenhire said. "... That's why I've been telling you guys every day in the newspaper: I would love to keep this young man. If you write it enough, maybe it'll happen. But it doesn't mean it's always going to happen."

Trade winds

While the Twins don't have a pressing need heading into the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, they do view shortstop and third base as two positions where they could benefit by adding a proven veteran.

They have had internal discussions about Seattle third baseman Adrian Beltre, for example, but there are no indications those talks have extended to the Mariners.

Historically, the Twins haven't made big trade splashes in July, but their scouts are prepared if they need to react to an injury.

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If trade talks heat up, General Manager Bill Smith could dispatch former GM Terry Ryan for his assessment, as well as vice president for player personnel Mike Radcliff and pro scouting coordinator Vern Followell.

The Beckett list

Gardenhire has hinted that today's starting lineup, against Josh Beckett, will include Mike Lamb.

Lamb has four hits in five career at-bats against Beckett. He went 3-for-4 with a homer and a double against Beckett on Sept. 13, 2005, leading the Astros over the Marlins.

Gardenhire has said he might give Justin Morneau a day as the designated hitter, letting Lamb play first base. And Mike Redmond could also start, giving catcher Joe Mauer a rest with a day game after a night game.

Beckett went 20-7 last season, and the Twins handed him one of those losses -- on Sept. 27 at Fenway Park. Cuddyer and Garrett Jones homered off Beckett in that 5-4 victory. Boof Bonser pitched five innings for the victory.