MINNEAPOLIS -- Denard Span thought he had the game-winning hit in the bottom of the ninth in Saturday's 8-7 extra-innings win over the Brewers.He hit the ball deep to right field and began to run to first with his arm raised with one finger up in victory. However, the ball fell just in front of the wall and was caught by right fielder Corey Hart to send the game into extras. Before Sunday's contest, the Twins put a picture on their whiteboard of Span's face over a football player celebrating a victory in the same fashion -- with one finger raised in victory. While Span's teammates had fun teasing their center fielder, manager Ron Gardenhire admitted he didn't see Span's premature celebration. "I was watching the ball," Gardenhire said. "He'd have to have learned by now watching these other guys hit bombs that it's hard to get out here."
Span leaves game with shoulder bruise
MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins center fielder Denard Span was wearing a patch on the back of his right shoulder after Sunday's 4-3 loss to the Brewers, but he didn't seem too concerned about the bruise that forced him to leave the contest in the sixth inning."It's just stiff," Span said of the area in his upper back near his right shoulder. Span suffered the injury when he was hit by a pitch from Brewers starter Marco Estrada in the third inning of Sunday's contest. But he remained in the game after getting hit, stealing second base and then scoring on Orlando Hudson's single to left field. The Twins' center fielder had one more at-bat in the fourth, delivering a single to center, and played three more innings in the field before Alexi Casilla pinch-hit for him with one out in the sixth. "I tried to keep going, but it bothered me when I was running," Span said. "Also, if I would have tried to make a strong throw, it would have bothered me. It wasn't getting any better. ... Coming in between innings and just sitting there, it kept getting stiff." Span is currently listed as day-to-day with the injury. But he likely won't miss any time. The center fielder said he was told that there is no need for him to come in for treatment during the team's off-day on Monday, and so he could be ready to play for Tuesday's series opener against the Yankees.
Hardy optimistic for Tuesday return
MINNEAPOLIS -- J.J Hardy said Sunday he is feeling good about returning to the Twins' lineup for the Yankees series opener on Tuesday.The shortstop has been on the 15-day disabled list with a deep bone bruise in his left wrist and was eligible to return to play May 20, but was not fully recovered. Hardy took batting practice in the cage before Sunday's series finale against the Brewers and said he was finally able to take swings at 100 percent. Although he walked around the clubhouse with his wrist wrapped in ice and bandages prior to Sunday's game, he said he felt really good and can tell he has made a lot of progress. "Tuesday is looking like a good possibility," Hardy said. "I want to get out there, I am so sick of just sitting." Manager Ron Gardenhire said Hardy will come to Target Field on the Twins' off-day Monday to work out and to take extra batting practice and fielding drills to test his wrist. Hardy will also take early live BP prior to Tuesday's game before a final decision is made. If he feels good after those drills, Gardenhire said he will be able to reactivate Hardy on Tuesday before the team's 7:10 p.m. CT start.
Infield plagued with injuries
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins' infield has been banged up a little recently, with as many as four players battling various ailments.After taking a ball to his right elbow in Saturday's 8-7 extra-innings win, second baseman Orlando Hudson said he felt good Sunday, according to manager Ron Gardenhire. Hudson left Saturday's game in the eighth inning after being hit by a ball on a pickoff attempt from relief pitcher Marco Estrada. Hudson could not grip a ball at that time. However, Gardenhire said the second baseman spent a lot of Saturday night icing his elbow and returned to Target Field on Sunday ready to play. "When I got here [Sunday], the first thing the trainer said is, 'He's good to go,'" Gardenhire said. "I think he took a shot off the funny bone. He wants to play." Also, third baseman Nick Punto had a sore left ring finger prior to Sunday's game. He said he was getting a cortisone shot and was hoping to return to the field on Tuesday. Brendan Harris started at third base for the Twins on Sunday against the Brewers. Trevor Plouffe made his third Major League start at shortstop Sunday, while J.J. Hardy remained on the bench nursing a deep bone bruise in his left wrist. Hardy is expected to return to the lineup Tuesday, but with several infielders dealing with injuries, the Twins may not necessarily send Plouffe down as he can play multiple positions. "Third base, he can definitely play," Gardenhire said. "There was one time where it was said that was his best position. I know he can play third, but second might be a little stretch because he hasn't really done that much." Infielder Alexi Casilla has also been dealing with a sore right elbow. He had his arm bandaged before Sunday's game, but did come into Saturday's win over the Brewers -- after Hudson left in the eighth inning -- and walked three times. He also made an appearance in Sunday's loss, coming in to play for Denard Span, who left the game in the sixth inning after getting hit by a pitch. Casilla told Gardenhire after the game that his arm was feeling 99.9 percent better, and it is expected that he will be fully recovered for the Yankees series.
Catcher Joe Mauer did not start Sunday's game against the Brewers. He said he was sore from Saturday's 12-inning affair, according to manager Ron Gardenhire. Mauer was available for pinch-hitting situations and will start Tuesday against the Yankees. ... Class A Advanced Ft. Myers outfielder Joe Benson was named the Twins' Minor League Player of the Week for May 16-22. The 23-year-old batted .450 with three doubles, two home runs, six runs, five RBIs and two walks in a five-game span. ... Right-hander Clay Condrey will undergo another MRI this week on his right elbow. Gardenhire said he is still experiencing stiffness in the area, but this is not seen as a significant setback to his recovery. The Twins hope they will have him pitching in game situations in Florida soon.
Kelly Thesier is a reporter and Jocelyn Syrstad is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.