09/23/11 7:24 PM ET
Span, Valencia OK after fender bender
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
The Twins, who have had their fair share of injuries, sending players to the disabled list 24 times, received the most bizarre injury news of their season on Friday night.
Manager Ron Gardenhire announced before the game against the Indians that Denard Span and Danny Valencia were out of the lineup after being involved in a fender bender on Thursday while driving from Target Field to the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport.
Span, driving his Range Rover, was following Valencia -- the passenger in his Range Rover Sport, with his fiancée driving -- when they encountered stopped traffic while turning from I-35 onto Highway 62 West. Span didn't stop, and rear-ended Valencia's car.
Both sustained whiplash and complained of headaches, and were held out of the lineup as a result.
"It's not funny, but it's typical," said Gardenhire, who couldn't help but laugh when telling the story. "So that's the reason why they're really not in the lineup. Danny has a little bit of a stiff neck and Span is OK, and says he feels fine, but it's probably not a good night to start him out there."
Valencia and Span were able to joke about the accident, as both cars had only minor damage, but it was still a scary moment, as all three people involved sustained whiplash. Valencia's fiancée was checked out by doctors on Friday.
"We all have whiplash," Valencia said. "I have a headache right now, and instantly had a headache when it happened. So it's unfortunate. But I was more concerned about him because of his concussion symptoms. But I was happy he was doing better than I expected."
Span, who has been dealing with concussion-like symptoms and migraines since sustaining a concussion in a home-plate collision on June 3, said that the crash triggered his symptoms "a little bit" but that he hopes to return on Saturday.
"It still hurts," Span said. "I'm not going to lie. My head hurts, and my neck is a little sore. I'm laughing, but it's not funny, to be honest with you. It's been a rough year for me. I just played Wednesday, so for something like this to happen has been rough for me. But it could have been worse."
With Valencia and Span out, only Matt Tolbert and Rene Rivera were available off the bench for Friday's game. Luke Hughes made the start at second base, with Ben Revere starting in center field.
"We need a rabbit's foot," Valencia said. "We have bad luck. And it's
unfortunate, because when you think it can't get any worse, it does.
Yesterday was a positive day, considering we had a great walk-off win
and our first win in about two weeks, and then the next thing you know,
I think I had a bomb dropped off on my car."
Duensing to start Game 1 on Saturday
CLEVELAND -- The Twins announced on Friday that left-hander Brian Duensing will start Game 1 of Saturday's doubleheader against the Indians, and fellow left-hander Scott Diamond will start Game 2.
Manager Ron Gardenhire had originally said that left-hander Francisco Liriano would start one of the games along with Diamond, but he opted to go with Duensing, as he's pitched three times out of the bullpen since Sept. 14, and Liriano only pitched in relief on Saturday.
Duensing last started on Sept. 3, a start he exited after 1 1/3 innings because of a strained right oblique. Liriano last started on Aug. 25, an outing he left after two innings with a strained left shoulder.
Duensing, who has a 5.29 ERA in 156 2/3 innings, is happy to get one last start, and thinks he can go four or five innings.
"Hopefully, I can throw five and be efficient," Duensing said. "I'd like to finish my season on a good note and go into the offseason with a positive mentality."