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Updated: June 17th, 2010 4:15pm
Denard Span on pickoff play: 'You can't make that call right there'

Denard Span on pickoff play: 'You can't make that call right there'

by Phil Mackey
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MINNEAPOLIS -- When trying to scratch across runs against a guy with a 1.16 ERA, every out matters, and Denard Span voiced his displeasure about the two close calls he was involved with during Thursday afternoon's 5-1 loss to the Rockies.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, with the Twins trailing 3-0, Span singled with one out and advanced to second on a wild pitch by Ubaldo Jimenez. Shortly thereafter, Jimenez spun and fired to shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who applied a tag to pick Span off at second.

It was a bang-bang play, and Span voiced his displeasure to second base umpire Scott Barry.

Two innings later, with the Rockies leading 5-1, Joe Mauer hit a line drive to second baseman Jonathan Herrera with runners on first and second. Herrera quickly fired to first base to double Span off on another extremely close play.

This time, Span simply threw his arms up in exasperation, and manager Ron Gardenhire came out to argue.

"I'm very sure, on both of them," Span said, when asked if he thought he was safe on both plays. "I don't even know what to say, because I don't want to say the wrong thing. I'll be honest with you. But I disagree with both calls today, especially in that moment of the game. This guy here, like I said, he's freakin' Cy Young on the mound. He doesn't need any help.

"Sometimes I think (umpires) get caught up in the moment, and it's too bad."

Span, who was picked off 10 times last season and now four times this season, especially took issue with the pickoff play at second base -- a key play at the time, considering the circumstances.

"I had told the second-base umpire, I let him know how I felt the inning after I ran to my position. I just felt like there was no point in arguing, because he's already called me out. We had an early game, so I know everybody's trying to get out of here. We've got a storm coming in, that's what I heard.

"You can't make that call right there. We were battling. Usually pickoff plays like that, it has to be blatant -- like I'm one thousand percent out."

Span later conceded that, "It's been a rough week for me on the bases," which is likely why he is so frustrated.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd