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Updated: September 21st, 2011 4:39pm
'Nervous' Denard Span returns to lineup, not concerned about results

'Nervous' Denard Span returns to lineup, not concerned about results

by Phil Mackey
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MINNEAPOLIS -- With one week remaining in a forgettable season, Minnesota Twins outfielder Denard Span plans to give it a go before heading into the offseason.

Sidelined since Aug. 13 with what the team has described as lingering migraine symptoms, Span was penciled in as the center fielder and leadoff hitter against the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday night.

Span said he expected to play between three and five innings, and he downplayed any productivity expectations.

"I think if I would have went the whole offseason without playing and just showing up to spring training without playing for six, seven months, I think the hurdle probably would have been through the roof, trying to get over that hump," said Span, who added that he was "nervous" to get back on the field. "It would have been a lot tougher for me. So I think just getting on the field is going to do something for me mentally. ...

"I'm not trying to go out there and put up any numbers the next few days. I'm not trying to do that. I just want to go out there and feel good."

Span was initially sidelined for two months following a concussion he suffered on June 3 in Kansas City, and after returning on Aug. 1 -- amid swirling trade deadline rumors -- Span was forced to shut it down again just two weeks later due to lingering symptoms.

Back in 2009, Span was diagnosed with Vestibular Neuritis -- an ailment that caused fuzziness, dizziness, and "spaciness," as Span has described it.

The team said his concussion in June stirred up some of his previous symptoms from 2009.

Although Span said keeping the symptoms in check is still a work in progress, he said "it's gotten a lot better" in recent weeks.

"I think (Wednesday) is more of a feel-me day, see how it goes, then I can wake up tomorrow and evaluate myself and see how I feel from there," said Span, who is hitting .263/.331/.342 on the season with six stolen bases in 293 plate appearances.

"It's been a tough battle for me up and down. I just think emotionally, a lot of things have been happening this year, from the trade deadline to all that stuff and dealing with this concussion has been rough for me mentally. So I think if I can get out there -- and I'm not even worried about results or hitting, I'm just worried about how I feel -- I think that will patch how this season has went for me."

Phil Mackey is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
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In this story: Denard Span