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09/23/09 8:34 PM ET

Span feeling better, but not in lineup

Outfielder expects to return to action Friday

CHICAGO -- Denard Span's fogginess had gone away by Wednesday and he no longer felt as if he was walking around in a haze. But the Twins' leadoff hitter was still not back in the starting lineup two days after getting hit in the back of the batting helmet with a pitch.

Span said he arrived at the ballpark early in the afternoon and saw he was not in the lineup. He planned to take batting practice before Wednesday's series finale with the White Sox and said he was preparing himself to be ready if the Twins needed a late-inning defensive substitution in the outfield or a pinch-hitter.

"Just 48 hours after getting hit in the head, I feel lucky," Span said. "I feel like somebody was looking over me, God was looking over me, because it could have been a lot worse. I feel good and I'm ready to get back on the field. I just can't wait."

It's likely that Span will be back in the starting lineup for Friday's series opener with the Royals. The Twins have an off-day on Thursday and manager Ron Gardenhire wanted to make sure he saw how Span fared during batting practice before putting him back out in the field.

"He's feeling pretty good," Gardenhire said. "By Friday, we should be able to fire him back out there unless he has a setback, which I don't think he will. I think he'll be fine."

Carlos Gomez got the start in center field for the second straight day for Minnesota and also filled in the leadoff spot.

Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.