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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Early Reports: Span, Morneau and Carroll

Denard Span rounding the bases.
Jime Mone, AP

I think I have used the title "cautious optimism" on this blog a few times before in describing my feelings toward our slew of injured players rebounding this season. I don't like redundancy, but I'm not sure that there's a more accurate term. Based on the extremely small sample size, it seems that Denard Span, one of the most important cogs in the lineup and on the field, has essentially returned to form. Yesterday, for instance, returning to the lineup after missing a few games with a sore neck, he went 3-4 and, from the little I have seen, has looked sharp in the field. It's tough not to get excited thinking about a healthy Span at Target Field this spring. Don't forget -- before his June, 2011 concussion, Span was having a very solid year, batting .294 with a .361 on base percentage. Most of us talk primarily about having Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau back in the 3 and 4 spots, but a healthy Span leading off is, arguably, just as important in the overall scheme of things. When he was "on," Span was able to set the tone for the whole offense, working at-bats, drawing walks and getting on base at a good clip. To see that kind of production again would be welcome. Also, in positive news, Span has not yet struck any family members or friends with foul balls. Way to go, Denard!

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Morneau and Jamey Carroll seem to be starting off pretty slow. I think it's too early to be concerned, though. I commented on the TwinsDaily site yesterday that, for me, there are two issues with Morneau: ability and health. If he is not healthy, it sure sounds like he's going to retire. But if he is healthy, I'm confident that the athletic ability is still there -- it's just going to take some time to shake the rust off. If he's still batting .136 at the end of Spring Training, then maybe it's time to be concerned. But for now, I give him a couple more weeks to get back in the routine.

Finally, for those that are interested, I posted my first introductory article for Through the Fence Baseball yesterday. Take a look!


  1. I agree with your assessment so far. As bad as the Twins were last year, it is easy to forget that Span was the most likely candidate to represent the Twins at the All-Star game until he went on the DL and Cuddyer got hot.

    There is still time for Morneau and Carroll to get their timing down, so we'll remain hopeful.

    1. Thanks, PK. Yes, it seems like a distant memory that Span -- and Jason Kubel (he was really consistent before getting injured) -- were the only reasonable candidates for this team last year.