Denard Span: “I am going to steal 50, make the All Star team”

Denard Span isn’t shy.  He’s not arrogant either, just confident. I sat down with the outfielder before tonight’s game to get his take on the first half of his second season:

DZ: You’ve been back for awhile after being on the DL, what was it like being on the Disabled List, just watching the team?

SPAN: It wasn’t fun. I didn’t work hard to get to this level to not play. It was rough just to be on the DL for the first time and not be able to contribute and help the team win.

DZ: The injury - there’s been a lot of talk about it, but it is still a little unclear, there was some dizziness - could you just talk about that?

  There were days I just felt dizziness and light headed. My energy level just wasn’t the same; I felt like my energy level was low. I was able to go out there and run around, but I just wasn’t as sharp and I felt like I wasn’t in-tune to everything. My reflexes were a little slower. It was tough to battle through.

Did you play a couple of days before you said “I can’t do this?”

Yeah, I fought through it for almost a month. I had good days and bad days; some days were worse than others, but at this point in my (professional) career - 7 years - I wouldn’t say it was the toughest thing I had to play through, but the most confusing. For over a month a I didn’t know why or what was going on. It was more stressful than anything.

DZ: Then you went to Rochester for rehab - you were just in the minor leagues last year, how different was the mindset going into a rehab assignment versus being on the team?

SPAN: I think everybody that gets to the major leagues after going through the minor leagues - nobody wants to go back down there. That was my mindset last year when I came up here - I just don’t want to go back there basically, that’s all in a nutshell. It wasn’t like I was getting a demotion or anything like that. It was almost like another reminder - going down there for the two rehab games - of how fortunate (I am) and how good it is up here and how much I don’t want to go back down there.

DZ: A little motivation?

SPAN: Yeah, definitely. A little motivation to get back up here and continue my journey up here.

DZ: The All Star break is coming up, what are your plans?

SPAN: I am going home back to Florida, get some sun, just relax and take it easy and get ready for the second half….hopefully finish off (the second half) stronger than I did the first half.

DZ: The All Star game - obviously, you’d like to get there at some point - what do you need to do to get to that next level?

SPAN: Just continue to work hard, be more aggressive running the bases, be a good lead-off hitter and put up good at-bats and hit for a little bit higher average.  I am not too worried about my power numbers or anything like that. (I am more worried about) my stolen bases.

DZ: Do you see yourself as a guy who can contend for a stolen base title or are you a 20, 25 (stolen base) guy?

SPAN: No, I am not settling for that. I don’t know when it’s going to be, but I guarantee one day I am going to steal 50. I’m not going to quit working  until I do and also until I make the All Star team.

DZ: OK. A couple of more quick things: you guys are going to Anaheim after the All Star break - we’ve talked before about how Torii Hunter helped you out (early in your career) at spring training - do you plan on spending some time with him out there?

SPAN: Yeah. We haven’t made any definite plans yet, but I am pretty sure before we get out there I am going to call him or he’ll reach out to me and I am pretty sure he’ll have something laid out to go out to eat or something for us to do.

DZ: One last thing, two years ago at this time, you’re in Triple A not having the greatest first half of your career, does it just kind of blow your mind how much things have changed since then?

SPAN: Yeah. It’s been a whirlwind these last two years just going from the uncertainty about myself, not having much confidence to now where I feel confident in my ability. I feel like I belong here. It’s just crazy how things just happen so fast. A lot of people told me in the minor leagues to keep working hard and things will get better. When you are down there, you don’t see that, understand that. I am just fortunate.

3 Responses to “Denard Span: “I am going to steal 50, make the All Star team””

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  3. MinnesotaSCORE » Denard Span on Grades, 10-Run Homers, Losing & Stealing Says:

    […] that the 27-year-old is satisfied; Span sees himself as an All Star and 50 base stealer - he has just three so far this year. The loquacious centerfielder and I had a quick chat on […]

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