Following a day off on Thursday, the Twins now find themselves sitting three games back of the Tigers in the AL Central race.
The good news for the Twins is that their leadoff hitter, Denard Span, is back in the lineup for the first time since Monday when he was hit in the back of the helmet by a pitch. Span arrived for early batting practice and stood in on the bullpen sessions of Francisco Liriano and Nick Blackburn, giving him a chance to see both left-handed and right-handed pitching. Span said he feels ready to go and after a few days off, his body feels especially rested at this late point in the season.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that Francisco Liriano is officially the starter for Sunday’s series finale in Kansas City. He’ll be matched up against Royals ace and Cy Young candidate Zack Greinke.
But first up for the Twins is a big test tonight against right-hander Robinson Tejada. In four starts since being moved to the rotation from the bullpen earlier this month, Tejada is 3-0 with a 0.81 ERA. That includes two wins over the Tigers.
Also an interesting note from the Elias Sports Bureau: Dating back to Aug. 31, right-handed hitters are a combined 0-for-39 against Tejada. It’s the longest consecutive hitless at-bats by right-handed batters against any pitcher this season.
2nd place in AL Central, 3 games back
Denard Span, CF
Orlando Cabrera, SS
Joe Mauer, C
Jason Kubel, RF
Michael Cuddyer, 1B
Delmon Young, LF
Jose Morales, DH
Matt Tolbert, 3B
Nick Punto, 2B
Pitching: RHP Carl Pavano (12-11, 4.82)
4th place in AL Central, 19.5 games back
Willie Bloomquist, RF
Mitch Maier, LF
Billy Butler, 1B
Mike Jacobs, DH
Alberto Callaspo, 2B
John Buck, C
Alex Gordon, 3B
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS
Josh Anderson, CF
Pitching: RHP Robinson Tejada (4-1, 2.94)
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