Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Span reluctant to move from centerfield

Denard Span was back in his usually spot at the top of the Twins line-up on Tuesday night in Anaheim. It was a question mark if Span would even survive the weekend as a member of the Twins. But after the deadline passed on Sunday, Span was still proud to be a member of the only club he has ever known.

With Span returning to the line-up, some interesting news came out about him and where he plays on the field. Span does not want to move from his defensive position in centerfield for the Minnesota Twins. The Twins thought it might be a good idea for Span to try out some other outfield positions during his rehab assignment. During those games in Rochester, Span never played a position other than centerfield.

There is more to the story but Span feels passionate about his place on the Twins.

Ben Revere has been filling in decently for Span since a concussion knock him out of the line-up close to two months ago. Now the Twins have a log jam of players that could see time in the outfield: Span, Revere, Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel, Delmon Young, Jason Repko, and Trevor Plouffe. Some of these players can play other positions but in the last couple days filling out the line-up card became a little harder for Ron Gardenhire.

When the Twins drafted Span in the first round of the 2002 draft, he was quickly seen as a player that could eventually take over for Torii Hunter in the Twins outfield. Span made his way through the Twins organization under the tutelage of Hunter and he took pride in being a solid defensive player in centerfield.

The Twins had an interesting offseason in 2008 in which both Hunter and Johan Santana left the Twins for bigger baseball markets. Each of these moves would impact the next year for Span. With the departure of Hunter, the centerfield job was open for Span to take but the team had acquired another outfielder in the Santana trade. Carlos Gomez was a highly ranked prospect that would compete with Span for the starting role in centerfield.

Over the next two seasons, Gomez would spend more time in centerfield than Span but this obstacle only made Span pursue the position that much harder. He took strong pride in being a member of the centerfield lineage that could be traced from Kirby Puckett to Torii Hunter and now to himself. Following the 2009 season, the Twins rewarded the hard work that Span put in by trading away Gomez and giving Span the centerfield position.

It now looks like Span might have to fight for his job once again with Revere providing some outstanding defensive play in centerfield. Span has shown in the past that when he is driven by competition, he can be a force to be reckon with on the diamond.

Let's hope that Span uses that force to power the Twins to another late-run in the second half of the season.

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Just a reminder that all week I am running a contest/giveaway for some great 1991 World Series DVD sets. They are a must have item for any Twins fan and the contest to get the items is pretty easy to do.

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