ARLINGTON -- Center fielder Denard Span was back in the Twins' lineup for Thursday's series opener against the Rangers, a pleasant surprise for manager Ron Gardenhire.
"It is wonderful," Gardenhire said. "After early batting practice, he went in and did some lifting and afterward said he was ready to play. So I changed the lineup and put him in there. I have no problem with that. That's what we would want."
Span said he came to the ballpark not expecting to play, but the warm weather in Texas might have loosened him up. Span felt sore Wednesday after taking batting practice on Tuesday, but said that subsided when he took some swings before Thursday's game.
"I feel like it's a good idea to play today," Span said. "I've been working in the cages the last few days, throwing me curve balls and sliders."
Span had missed the Twins' previous nine games since diving for a fly ball in center field on Aug. 12 against the Tampa Bay Rays.