Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Here We Go Again...

When Michael Cuddyer whipped out his first baseman's mitt after Justin Morneau took a seemingly minor blow to the head last July, he hardly could have guessed he'd be wearing it every day for the rest of the season.

Will it be a similar story this year for Ben Revere?

The 23-year-old prospect, on the roster for a second stint this year due to a rash of injuries, took center field on June 7 with Span complaining of concussion symptoms stemming from an innocuous-looking collision at home plate a few days earlier.

With the exception of one game, in which he played left while Jason Repko manned center, Revere has been Minnesota's center fielder ever since.

In a brief radio interview with KFAN's Paul Allen yesterday, Span -- who had just finished a light workout at Target Field -- sounded despondent. Asked to guess when he might return to the lineup, he stumbled for words before settling on the All-Star break, an answer he sounded none too confident in.

The center fielder can hardly be blamed for his demeanor given the stark similarities between his predicament and the one that faced his teammate a year ago.

Much like Span, Morneau was amidst an outstanding campaign before taking a knock to the head while running the bases hard. Neither injury was initially deemed serious -- Span even played and batted third against the Indians three days after running into Royals catcher Brayan Pena -- but Morneau ended up missing the rest of his season and Span has missed two weeks with no return in sight.

To listen to Span describing his symptoms, you'd almost think he was reading Morneau quotes from last year's newspapers. In his downtime, he experiences no issues, but when he steps up his activity and tries to get on the field and work out, on come the headaches and dizziness.

Players like Cuddyer and Revere deserve a lot of credit for stepping up and helping the team win in spite of these significant losses, but Morneau and Span are both extremely likable players and key cogs in the lineup. It's hard -- for the team, for the fans, and especially for those two competitive spirits.

I'm very hopeful that Span can shake these issues and hit his targeted return date, because he's fun to watch and some advanced statistics had him pegged as one of the league's most valuable players over the first two months of the season.

However, as I assess his situation, I can't help but think of Morneau, who is approaching the one-year anniversary of his concussion and to this point still has not been able to bounce back.


Michael Otis said...

Is there any time table on Kubel's arrive back?

Anonymous said...

I think Kubel and Nathan could be back on Friday. I don't know about Thome. Frankly if it were my decision I would make Kubel my DH and platoon Repko and Revere with Young and Cuddyer in left and right. Assuming Morneau comes back soon. I think Thome's done - unfortunately. Span being out is really a blow as this lineup is starting to gel.

ScruffyRube said...

It really is a shame that Span, probably the most consistent player for the first two months got hurt like this. Not because we really want to win, but because after what happened with Morneau you can tell that he's as worried about his future as Jusin was.

Here's hoping things come together, he gets healthy and continues to live out his dream of playing pro ball.

Anonymous said...

I hate to see Span out, but his absence has not hurt the club.

If Revere continues to hit around .270-.280 I believe his defense nullifies Span's superior ability at the plate. Taking a hit away is equally as important as getting one.

IMO Kubel is the most important player to get back. This year he is the only legit power lefty that can play every day on the whole team. Thome can only play every other day at best and Morneau obviously has still not rebounded.

SoCalTwinsfan said...

Thome is scheduled to hit in a simulated game today, so he's ahead of Kubel. His return will be nice but he won't help a whole lot until the Twins can use the DH. Span really has no idea when he'll return because these are all different by degree and by person. At least he doesn't have a history of concussions, as far as I know, like Morneau did. Morneau is a former hockey player, so who knows how many undiagnosed concussions he had as a kid. Morneau also got hit in the helmet by a pitch early in his career.

Anonymous said...

"I hate to see Span out, but his absence has not hurt the club.

If Revere continues to hit around .270-.280 I believe his defense nullifies Span's superior ability at the plate."

You're wrong about this. Revere has a 601 ops which sub jason tyner awful. That number is really bad. His defense is fine but span has played great defense this year and has been an underrated defender for a year and a quarter. UZR has span pegged as one of the most valuable defenders in baseball this year and even though uzr should largely be ignored because of the very small sample size, I think youd be hard pressed to any evidence aside from a few memorable diving catches that revere is a better defender than span. Exchanging revere for span, the way span was playing, has been a sizable downgrade for the twins.

Matt said...

Exchanging revere for span, the way span was playing, has been a sizable downgrade for the twins.
Span was no power hitter, either, but Ben's SLG of .298 (last time I checked) is sub-Tyner as well.
On the bright side, he can still develop into a decent scrap player who can fill in near the top/bottom of the order and give you good outfield range with some ability to steal bases and beat out infield grounders. The development will accelerate by playing every day in the bigs as opposed to Rochester, so that's good.

Here's wishing Span a speedy and smooth recovery.

noam chomsky said...

Revere's bat has not seemed that spectacular. Even for a singles hitter he rarely hits the ball with any authority. I still think he's a 4th outfielder or a poorman's brett Garndner. I assure people this much. He will eventually be savaged on these very blogsites by comments about his noodle arm because teams are going to exploit it. He makes Coco Crisp's arm look like Bo Jackson's. Can anyone name another player who's 5'9", with 20 power and a 20 arm who was drafted in the 1st round like revere? I just cant get as excited as some do over his abilities.

Matt said...

I still think he's a 4th outfielder or a poorman's brett Garndner.
I completely agree. I do think that him playing in the bigs is good for him, though, and he can find a role on a major league ball club due to his outfield range, and hopefully, ability to cause a few issues for other teams on the base paths.
I don't see him batting lead off every day, and getting Span back soon would help this club right now.

Anonymous said...

If you don't think at some point ben revere will be the twins everyday leadoff hitter simply because hes fast, then you must not know how gardy makes his lineup.