Twins are cautiously optimistic

Updated: March 2, 2012, 10:55 AM ET
By Buster Olney

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Twins were in the midst of a simulated game on Thursday, so in other words, nothing counted, as Jason Marquis pitched from behind a screen. But when a fly ball went in the air toward center field, the competitive instinct overwhelmed Denard Span, and he sprinted in full pursuit.

The ball carried over the chain-link fence, and Span's face hit the railing with him running close to full speed. With a few hundred fans in attendance, there was collective response to the collision of Ooooh. Span immediately reached up to his mouth, and if you had watched the Twins play last year, you might've assumed that Span was hurt, because that's just the way their 2011 season went.

"I've never seen anything like what we had last year," manager Ron Gardenhire said.