Denard Span’s collision at the plate with Royals catcher Brayan Pena didn’t look like much Friday night and he was able to play yesterday, but the Twins’ center fielder is now out of the lineup and will head back to Minnesota to have his dizziness examined.
Span chose to slide hard into Pena rather than reenact the Scott Cousins-Buster Posey incident by running the catcher over, yet even after avoiding a bigger collision he told reporters that he’s been “foggy” since and is “definitely scared.”
Span is the latest in a seemingly never-ending string of injured Twins, as Joe Mauer, Jim Thome, Jason Kubel, Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Delmon Young, Francisco Liriano, Joe Nathan, Glen Perkins, Kevin Slowey, Jose Mijares, and Jason Repko have all spent at least one stint on the disabled list.
And one of the few regulars who hasn’t been on the shelf, Justin Morneau, has been in and out of the lineup with neck problems after spending eight months on the sidelines following a concussion. Similar to Morneau’s situation last year Span’s dizziness is particularly worrisome because he missed time with vertigo in 2009. He’s been the Twins’ best player all season.
Rays’ right fielder Steven Souza Jr. left Saturday’s game after getting hit on the left hand by a pitch from Blue Jays’ right-hander Joe Biagini in the seventh inning. The pitch appeared to hit the top of Souza Jr.’s hand, causing the outfielder to crumple at the plate and requiring assistance from assistant athletic trainer Paul Harker as he exited the field. Postgame reports from the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin revealed that Souza Jr. sustained a left hand contusion and is scheduled to undergo further evaluation on Sunday.
While the diagnosis isn’t as bad as it could be, it’s still a tough break for the right fielder, who missed 40 days of the 2015 season after sustaining a fracture in his left hand on another hit by pitch. The team has yet to announce any concrete timetable for Souza Jr.’s return, though manager Kevin Cash indicated that they’ll be taking things day to day for the time being.
Souza Jr. is batting .326/.398/.543 with four home runs and 17 RBI through 104 PA in 2017. He went 1-for-2 with a base hit and a walk prior to his departure during Saturday’s 4-1 loss.
It’s been a slow start to the season for Yankees’ outfielder Brett Gardner, who entered Saturday’s matinee against the Orioles with a .188/.316/.234 batting line, three doubles and five stolen bases in his first 76 PA of the year. That all changed in the first inning of Saturday’s game, when Gardner skied a leadoff home run to right field:
Orioles’ right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez couldn’t find his footing against the Yankees in the second inning, either. Gardner returned for his second home run of the season, a three-run shot to lift New York 5-0 over Baltimore:
Measured at 411 feet in the right field bullpen, the left fielder’s blast marked the seventh home run hit by a Yankee this series. According to the club’s PR department, it’s also the first multi-home run game Gardner has recorded since September 2015. The Yankees currently lead the Orioles 7-0 through four innings.