Minnesota will officially welcome Denard Span back to the top of its lineup on Thursday evening, as the speedy outfielder is expected to start in center field for Ron Gardenhire's Twins against Roy Oswalt and the Rangers.
Span, who missed nine games while nursing a shoulder injury, originally hoped to be back earlier in the week, but suffered a setback after he was bothered by claustrophobia during a Tuesday MRI. Although teammate Ben Revere served admirably in the leadoff role while Span sat waiting to be cleared, the Twins will certainly be glad to have their star outfielder back in the fold for a tough series.
Injured originally while diving for a flyball on Aug. 12, it will be interesting to see how the 28-year-old Span handles playing in the field in his first game back. Even though he's widely seen as one of the better defensive outfielders in the American League, there's always a mental aspect to an injury like this so Span might opt to dial his fielding aggressiveness down a bit in his first few games back.