Twins outfielder Denard Span left Saturday's game early after the heat got to him.
By TYLER MASONFS North
There was plenty of speculation when Twins center fielder Denard Span exited Saturday's game in Kansas City in the eighth inning. Span has frequently been named as one of Minnesota's most valuable trade chips leading up to the July 31 trade deadline. Was he taken out because he was traded?
As it turned out, Span just wasn't feeling well after playing in the stifling Kansas City heat at Kauffman Stadium. He was replaced in the lineup by outfielder Darin Mastroianni in the bottom of the eighth inning. Mastroianni came in to play right field and Ben Revere moved from right field to center.
Before leaving the game, Span was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in the leadoff spot to lower his average to .276 on the season.
Span is the latest regular in the Twins lineup to miss time this weekend. Minnesota first baseman Justin Morneau is currently on the paternity list after his wife, Krista, gave birth to a boy Saturday evening. The Morneaus' second child weighed 7 pounds, 5 ounces, according to the Twins.
With Morneau on the paternity list, the Twins recalled Chris Parmelee from Triple-A Rochester to play first base. Parmelee went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run in his first game with Minnesota since July 4. Parmelee also had a solid night defensively, making a nice scoop on a low throw by second baseman Alexi Casilla to complete a double play — one of five turned by the Twins in Saturday's game.
In Friday's game in Kansas City, Minnesota third baseman Trevor Plouffe early with a thumb injury. He was not in the lineup Saturday — Jamey Carroll got the start at third base — but Plouffe told reporters Friday that he doesn't expect to miss much time. Plouffe is currently second on the Twins with 19 home runs and has driven in 38 runs.
For a Twins team that has had a rather consistent lineup for much of the season, things have looked a little different over the past few days in Kansas City. But none of the recent setbacks appear to be anything that might keep Span, Plouffe or Morneau out for an extended period of time. Morneau has up to three days to be on the paternity list before he must return to the team. Span told reporters after Saturday's game that he felt dizzy during the game but expects to play in Sunday's series finale.
Even so, none of this comes as good news to a 39-55 Twins team that had a chance to climb out of the American League Central cellar with a win Saturday. Minnesota entered Saturday's game a half game back of the host Royals. Now, the Twins are guaranteed to leave Kansas City in last place.
They're just hoping to leave with their roster in once piece.