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Updated: June 6th, 2011 4:11pm
Wrist 'not great,' but Morneau returns; Span bats third for first time

Wrist 'not great,' but Morneau returns; Span bats third for first time

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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CLEVELAND -- Heading into a key three-game series against the Cleveland Indians, the Minnesota Twins added reinforcements to the lineup on Monday with the return of Justin Morneau (wrist) and Denard Span (neck).

Morneau was penciled in the fifth spot in the batting order as the designated hitter, with Span written in to play centerfield and bat third for the first time since his senior year of high school.

"I'm a little nervous," said Span, whose .759 OPS ranks third on the team behind Jason Kubel (.820) and Jim Thome (.820).

Hitting behind Ben Revere and the red-hot Alexi Casilla, Span said he didn't plan to change his approach, but "I'm going to try to drive them in and be a little more aggressive."

"Just mix it up a little bit," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Get Revere up at the top and have a lot of speed on in front of the guys who are supposed to drive them in, so we'll see what happens. ...

"Span Man says he's feeling good. He's one of our better hitters in the lieup right now, so we'll put him third."

Along with trying to come back from last season's concussion, Morneau has battled threw a slew of ailments this season -- a flu virus, a pinched nerve in his neck, and most recently a sore left wrist that sidelined him for the last two games in Kansas City.

"His wrist is not great, but he wants to play," Gardenhire said. "He swung early in the cage, and (hitting coach) Joe Vavra said he took some really good swings, and he definitely still feels it. But there's not a lot we can do about it, so he says he wants to play. So DH is definitely the best."

Morneau was hitting just .236/.292/.352 with four home runs and 20 RBIs heading into Monday.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd
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