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Updated: February 21st, 2012 3:58pm
With symptoms now 'manageable,' Denard Span reports, practices

With symptoms now 'manageable,' Denard Span reports, practices

by Phil Mackey
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- It's hard to quantify exactly how Minnesota Twins outfielder Denard Span feels these days.

He feels good enough to have reported to spring training on Tuesday, two days early, and go through a full two-hour workout with position players that included batting practice, baserunning drills and fly balls.

He feels good enough to say the concussion he sustained last June is a thing of the past -- "Even talking with my chiropractor," Span said, "the last thing he told me was, 'You're over your concussion. Now it's about body functioning.'"

And he feels good enough to where he plans on practicing and playing every day during spring training, until further notice.

"I've been feeling good, man," Span said. "A lot of it is me being happy to be here, turning the page from last year and seeing everyone's faces. Turn the page this offseason. ...

"As far as I know, I'm here. I showed up today ready go."

But there are still good days and bad days for Span as he attempts to fully rid himself of fuzziness, spaciness and headaches -- symptoms that go back to his 2009 battle with what was diagnosed at the time as Vestibular Neuritis.

Span called any lingering symptoms he might encounter, "manageable," and added, "Some days are better than others. But I have been smart about it. I know my body and its nowhere near where it was last year."

Span played in only 70 games last season, spending most of the second half of the season on the disabled list after colliding with Kansas City Royals catcher Brayan Pena in early June. At the time of the collision, Span was hitting .300/.367/.392, but he was just a shell of himself during brief returns to the lineup in August and September.

This offseason, Span made changes to his diet and workout routine. He eliminated caffeine altogether, he eats almost exclusively natural foods now, and he attended yoga sessions every Wednesday.

He also switched up his vitamin and supplement supply and went on a detox diet for three weeks.

"I try to take care myself," he said. "See a chiropractor and get adjusted. Get massages on my neck and cranial work done."

Span added, "Everything is natural. I feel leaner. Usually when I came into spring training I feel bloated. I'm blown up. This offseason a lot of stuff... I got off a lot of (foods and supplements) I had taken in the past."

As of Tuesday morning -- Span's first at camp -- he had yet to sit down with trainers to discuss plans for this spring, but general manager Terry Ryan said Tuesday afternoon, "There are no restrictions on him. ...

"We didn't have any problems with (Span) all winter. He's doing and saying all the right things. I did see him at TwinsFest, and he certainly expressed his pleasure at how he felt."

Span said he expects to be on the field every day, but "I imagine that it would be day-to-day. ...

"I told (head athletic trainer) Rick (McWane) that if don't feel good a certain day or wake up not feeling good I'd go to him and tell him how I'm feeling. Today when I got here he just asked me what I want to do and I said I'm going to go out there and I'm feeling good. Everything we're doing is light anyway, so each day I kind of report to him and see how I feel."

Span admitted there are times when he isn't sure whether some of his "bad" days are just normal ebbs and flows a body goes through in every-day life, or if those "bad" days are concussion- or symptom-related.

"Everyone has good days and bad days and it is just about getting through them," said Span. "I think Justin (Morneau) will tell you if you have a concussion you kind of think too much. You wake up in the morning. On a bad day, you're like, 'am I just not feeling well today or is it concussion symptoms?'

"You got to, I got to, push away from that and get on the field and just fight through it. My plan is to go like any other spring training."

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.
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In this story: Denard Span