Until this year, I was inclined to think that Carlos Gomez was a factor. Gomez certainly poached fly balls beyond the normal limits of his range, and Span was playing outfield corners for the first time in his career. But Gomez is gone, and the close calls continue.
Wednesday was a case in point. Span and Delmon Young bumped in pursuit of a Jose Batista drive to the gap; Batista ended up with an inside-the-park home run and Young ended up with a sore wrist. A few innings earlier, Young alligator-armed a fly ball only to have it go off the end of his glove for an error; it may simply be an error, or perhaps he was pulling back because Span was flashing into the vicinity.
Orlando Hudson and Span bumped in short center earlier this season; Hudson missed about three weeks as a result.
I don't know what the issue is here. Is Span slow to call his teammates off, or not doing so at all? Is his voice too soft to be heard over the crowd? Am I exaggerating the issue?
As the center fielder, Span is supposed to take everything he can reach. Everybody else — corner outfielders, middle infielders — is to defer to him. I don't think this is happening.
Earlier this season, the Texas Rangers had a similar issue involving Josh Hamilton, who has spend much of his time in center but is now a corner outfielder, and new CF Julio Bourbon. Hamilton still had the center fielder mindset, and Bourbon was too willing to defer to the larger man. They had a meeting, after which Hamilton said he told Bourbon something like: When you call for it, I'm going to stop.
Which is the way it's supposed to be. What I see too often in the Twins outfield is dangerous — the players and to the scoreboard.