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Updated: June 27th, 2011 5:37pm
Notebook: Jason Kubel headed to Fort Myers; Denard Span getting close?

Notebook: Jason Kubel headed to Fort Myers; Denard Span getting close?

by Tom Pelissero
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Jason Kubel will leave for a rehabilitation assignment on Tuesday morning.

If all goes well, he could be back in the Minnesota Twins' lineup in a week.

Kubel hasn't played since May 30, when he sprained his left foot at Detroit. The plan is for him to join the Single-A Fort Myers Miracle on Tuesday, play three games and then play three more with Double-A New Britain from Friday through Sunday before the Twins re-evaluate.

According to manager Ron Gardenhire, the Twins decided to send Kubel to New Britain at least in part because Triple-A Rochester is on the road through Sunday.

"We're going to get him starting off down in the heat," Gardenhire said before Monday's series opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"He talked about that would probably be good, so maybe down in Fort Myers for a few ballgames, and then eventually move up (to New Britain). I would like him to be, rather than traveling on buses and everything, probably getting to play, rather than a lot more travel."

In six or so rehab games, Gardenhire said he wants Kubel to get 25 to 30 at-bats and play the outfield four times. Kubel also joined catcher Joe Mauer in taking ground balls at first base during batting practice on Monday and could be an option for spot duty while Justin Morneau recovers from neck surgery.

Asked if Kubel might make a stop at Rochester as well, head athletic trainer Rick McWane said, "That's up in the air right now. I know they wanted him to get some at-bats at a higher level, so he's going to Double-A and we'll see how he does this weekend."

Span getting close?

Center fielder Denard Span continues to make progress, too, although major league baseball will have the final say on when he returns to the field.

Span has been on the disabled list since June 9, three days after a collision with Kansas City catcher Brayan Pena left him with whiplash and a concussion.

The Twins originally placed him on the seven-day disabled list, which baseball established as part of its new concussion protocol, and the team must submit test results to the league office before Span can play again.

"He's moved his agility drills to outside," McWane said. "He's running outside now. He's playing catch, hitting still in the cage. He's not ready to do that outside yet, but he's still making good progress."

Quick hits

• OF Delmon Young (sprained right ankle) underwent another MRI on Monday and the results weren't expected to be revealed until Tuesday. He was wearing a regular shoe but limping badly while watching teammates take batting practice.

• Morneau's surgery is scheduled for Wednesday, McWane said. Doctors will have to make a small incision. He is expected to miss six weeks.

• RHP Kevin Slowey (abdominal strain) is scheduled to throw about 50 pitches in three to four innings of work with the Miracle on Wednesday.

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
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