Denard Span suffers busted lip, but OK after collision with fence
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- It's a test that was bound to take place at some point, but that didn't stop Minnesota Twins players, coaches and trainers from holding their breath when outfielder Denard Span crashed into a chain-link fence on Thursday morning.
The collision took place during a simulated game on a side field outside Hammond Stadium. Trevor Plouffe hit a towering fly ball off pitcher Jason Marquis that carried just beyond the center field fence.
Span drifted back, running nearly full-speed, and crashed hard into the fence. The outfielder stumbled back toward the outfield grass as his glove popped up in the air.
A trainer ran out immediately, but Span remained in the game and later participated in a full round of batting practice.
"I did not see the fence," Span said afterward. "I didn't have shades on out there. The background is a little tough to see, so I picked the ball up kind of late. I heard Josh just saying, 'back, back, back,' so I was kind of drifting toward the ball. I had no idea the fence was that close. ...
"As soon as I reached up to catch the ball, my face smacked right into the fence. So I had a little bit of a busted lip."
Through the first week of full-squad workouts, Span -- coming off a concussion last year, and other migraine symptoms that have lingered since 2009 -- has gone through every drill with no restrictions so far.
He said he wasn't hoping for that type of contact -- "I don't think you hope for anybody to jab you in the face" -- but added, "It's definitely a good test to see how I feel tomorrow after having a collision like that. If it didn't happen today it would happen eventually. ... I'm just happy it wasn't as bad as it could have been."
Overall, Span says he has "been feeling pretty good" this spring, and he expects to play in the Twins' spring opener on Saturday against the Tampa Bay Rays.
"This is probably the most I've done, even during the offseason you work out four, five times a week, then you get the weekend to kind of relax a little bit. So this is my first two weeks in a row that I've (worked out) every day. I've felt better on certain days. I haven't felt the same every day. ...
"I've had to fight through some stuff. But overall I haven't backed out of anything. This is kind of what I'm trying to do, test myself now, because during the season it's a grind every day, just like out here. It's probably more of a grind here I think, with the hot sun and all that. So this is kind of a test, just to see where I'm at before the season starts."
Span said the "stuff" he's fighting through is mostly related to cutting caffeine out of his diet this offseason.
"Some days I wake up in the morning and 7 o'clock, and I see you guys drinking coffee and everybody else is on coffee, two cups, and I'm coming out just on however many hours of sleep I got the night before."
Span also made alterations to his supplement intake and food regimen.