Span thriving in return to top of Twins' lineup

Span thriving in return to top of Twins' lineup

Span thriving in return to top of Twins' lineup
DETROIT -- After what was basically a month-long absence for Denard Span, who had been sidelined with a sprained sternoclavicular joint, the outfielder is back and thriving atop the Twins' lineup.

Since returning from the disabled list, the 28-year-old was hitting .324 with two three-hit games entering Saturday's action. He's also hit safely in seven of eight contests. With a career .356 average against the Tigers, that success is expected to continue.

"He's your prototypical leadoff guy," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He knows what he's doing up there. He's not afraid to see pitches. That gives everybody else a chance to see pitches. ... When he's up there at the top of the lineup for us he's a good starter, a really good starter. And we just go from there."

After dealing with a concussion and missing most of the second half in 2011, Span has put together a decent comeback campaign. His season average entering Saturday stood at .289 to go with 16 stolen bases and a career-high 36 doubles.

His numbers aren't all the way back - that's partly due to his injury -- but Span's shown promise for the 2013 season. And so has the 1-2 punch of Span and Ben Revere batting in front of Joe Mauer.

"It's been a lot of fun having [Span] back and just hitting behind him," Revere said. "We just both get on base and cause real chaos on the basepaths for the defense. ... I just tell him, 'You want to steal go ahead. I'll protect you,' and he just goes, 'Man, you do your thing.' So I just swing away and we cause havoc."