01/30/11 7:35 PM EST
Morneau making steady progress in workouts
By Kelly Thesier / MLB.com
Gardenhire plans to give Span more rest
BLAINE, Minn. -- One thing that Twins manager Ron Gardenhire would like to do this season is to give center fielder Denard Span more consistent breaks.Last year, Span started in center for the club's first 62 games of the season. He did not get his first day off until June 13, when Michael Cuddyer made his only start in center field. Gardenhire said this weekend that he would like to use backup outfielder Jason Repko to provide Span with more opportunities for a breather. It's something he tried to do after Repko arrived in the Majors in late June of last year. "I can do a better job as a manager giving him breaks," Gardenhire said of Span. "I think he wore down at the end of the season. He had a lot of at-bats. He takes a lot of pitches, does a lot of things for his teammates and puts himself in a hole to make sure that they see pitches. He does his job. Now, it's my job to make sure I rest him a little bit more, and give him the breaks he needs to get the best out of him." Span said that his approach to the season won't change, even if Gardenhire plans to give him a few more days off early in the year. "I prepare myself mentally and physically during the offseason to play every day," Span said. "I think every player now and then wouldn't mind a breather. But I don't go into the season saying I want to play 150 games. I strive to play 162 games every year."
TwinsFest 2011 concludes successfully
BLAINE, Minn. -- TwinsFest 2011 wrapped up its three days at the National Sports Center on Sunday afternoon. Despite having to change venues a month prior to the event, due to the Metrodome's roof collapse, the Twins felt that everything went smoothly."I think from all early accounts, it was great," said Kevin Smith, the Twins' executive director of public affairs. "The fact that the National Sports Center staff and the Twins staff could put this together in four weeks was amazing. Everyone worked well together. We did the best we could with the venue -- and I think from everything I've heard, it's been an overwhelming success." The Twins drew around 25,000 fans to the event, having capped ticket sales at that amount due to the smaller size of the National Sports Center. More than 60 former, current and future Twins players were on hand for this year's event, which is the largest annual fundraiser for the Minnesota Twins Community Fund. While the event was smaller than in years, that didn't prevent the club from adding new features, either. On Sunday, the Twins held a "Tweet and Greet" for fans who follow the club's official Twitter account @minnesotatwins. Anyone who received their tweet got a chance to meet Denard Span, Michael Cuddyer and Drew Butera -- three Twins players who are now currently on Twitter. More than 100 fans attended the tweet-up.
TwinsFest finished for manager Ron Gardenhire on Sunday afternoon, but the skipper is prepping for his next adventure later this week. Gardenhire is taking part for the ninth straight year in the Black Woods Blizzard Tour, which is a snowmobile ride to raise money for ALS. The event begins on Wednesday and runs through Saturday. Also taking part in the event are Kent Hrbek, Joe Vavra and Terry Steinbach. Pledges are still being accepted by visiting the Blizzard Tour's website. ... Gardenhire said this weekend that Tsuyoshi Nishioka profiles as a No. 1 or 2 hitter. And with Denard Span locked in as the Twins' leadoff hitter, it appears likely that Nishioka could fill that second spot in the order.