Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Concussion issues lingering for Span

For the second year in a row, the Twins are dealing with one of their star players having concussion issues. Denard Span missed most of the month of June and July while he recovered from a concussion that he suffered on a collision at the plate. He returned to the Twins line-up at the beginning of August but in the last week Span has been forced to sit out of games while he struggles with some of the after effects of his concussion.

Since returning to the line-up, Span has been trying to find his rhythm at the plate. In 35 at-bats, he has only managed two hits which comes out to a .057 batting average. Span has also struck out nine times in the month of August. During the worst stretch of his return, he struggled through an 0 for 27 slump at the plate. These are not the type of numbers the Twins want from their young lead-off hitter and it shows how dangerous concussions can be to a player. 

The Twins organization is well aware of the scary side of concussions from the ordeal that Justin Morneau went through last season. The power-hitting Canadian slugger missed the entire second half of last season while recovering from a concussion he suffered trying to break up a double play. Morneau returned at the beginning of this season but the struggles were easy to witness in multiple aspects of his game. Recent wrist and neck surgery have the former MVP starting to look like himself again but it has taken a long time to reach this point. 

With a little over a month and a half left in the season, the Twins have played their way out of contention in the AL Central. This can allow the Twins to approach the end of this season differently than other seasons when the team was in contention. There is no reason to rush injured players back to help with the playoff push. Over the weekend in Cleveland, it was reported that Span had considered sitting out the rest of the season to completely recover from his concussion symptoms. Obviously, this is not a good sign for Twins fans.

Even with all of the factors discussed above, it seems as if the Twins are still determined to get Span back into the line-up in the next couple of days. He was penciled into the line-up on Monday night before becoming a late scratch shortly before game time. On Tuesday night, the Twins let Span rest again as he tries to help his body adjust to new medication. The team doctors and coaches are working with Span to make sure he is ready to be back in the line-up. 

In a season that is all but lost, I hope the Twins do not make a mistake by pushing Span back on the field. There is no reason to rush him back and if he were to get another concussion the affects could be devastating on Span's future career. 

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