Denard Span leading off for Twins in return from concussion

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Denard Span is surprisingly leading off and playing center field for the Twins tonight in his first game action since August 13.

Span suffered a concussion in a collision at the plate on June 3 and pushed himself to return two months later despite continuing to experience dizziness and other symptoms. He went 2-for-35 (.057) in nine games and was shut down again, but has said all along that he wanted to play at least a couple times before the year was over.

Obviously it’s great to see Span back, but there’s no indication that he’s completely symptom-free and rushing his recovery just so he can appear in a few meaningless September games seems unnecessarily risky for the Twins.

Last time Span clearly wasn’t himself despite going on a minor-league rehab assignment before rejoining the lineup and Justin Morneau recently suffered a setback with his own concussion recovery 15 months after his initial brain injury.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with left ankle injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.