"It's a strange feeling," said Span, who played with the Twins from 2008-12. "Even though we didn't play [Friday because of a rainout], I woke up with butterflies in my stomach. Just to see familiar faces and be playing against my old team is weird."
Span, who signed a five-year deal worth $16.5 million with the Twins before the '10 season, said he enjoyed his time in Minnesota and was ultimately a little surprised when the Twins decided to trade him even though there had been trade rumors surrounding him for two years.
"I was surprised that I got traded, but at the same time, I was and I wasn't, because there had been trade rumors flying for some time," Span said. "So it was a bittersweet thing. I thought I was one of the cornerstones of the time. When I signed my contract, I thought I'd be there for five years. I didn't sign a three-year deal and it was a team-friendly deal, so I thought I'd be there for the entire time. But I learned a lot in Minnesota not just about baseball but about life, so it's just a life lesson."
Span said he's continued to follow the Twins from afar and has been impressed by Aaron Hicks --- his replacement in center field -- despite his slow start early in the season.
"He'll be fine," Span said. "This is the big leagues. This isn't Double-A. It'll take a little bit of time. But when I look at him, I see a Torii Hunter type. Torii took a little time before his bat came around and then now you see he's 38 and still doing it. So with the ability Aaron has, I think he's going to be around for a long time."
Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire also had nothing but positive things to say about Span, who hit .284/.357/.389 with 23 homers and 90 stolen bases in 589 games with the Twins.
"He's a pretty good player, as a matter of fact, a really good player," Gardenhire said. "We miss him a lot. He's a leadoff guy, the whole package, with the way he played the game. So we miss him an awful lot."
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.