Keiunta Denardo Span (born February 27, 1984) is an American professional baseball center fielder who is a free agent. He has played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Minnesota Twins, Washington Nationals, San Francisco Giants, Tampa Bay Rays and Seattle Mariners.

Denardo Span
Denard Span Mariners 2018 (cropped).jpg
Free agent
Born: (1984-02-27) February 27, 1984 (age 35)
Tampa, Florida
Bats: Left Throws: Left
MLB debut
April 6, 2008, for the Minnesota Twins
MLB statistics
(through September 25, 2018)
Batting average.282
Home runs71
Runs batted in490
Stolen bases185
Career highlights and awards

Span bats and throws left-handed and at the height of his career was known as one of the premier leadoff hitters in baseball due to his exceptional on-base percentage.[1]

Early lifeEdit

Span was raised by his single mother, Wanda Wilson, in Tampa. Wilson, a Federal City College graduate, supported Span and his brother, Ray, by working variously as a claims adjuster and day care operator. Their father had very little presence in their lives.[2]

As a teenager, he attended Tampa Bay Devil Rays games at Tropicana Field.[3] He attended Tampa Catholic High School where he played football and baseball. Span won a state baseball championship with Tampa Catholic as a junior in 2001. As a senior, he hit .490.[4] He committed to play college baseball at Florida. According to Baseball America, he could have played college football as a wide receiver if he had not focused on baseball.[5]

Professional careerEdit

Span was selected by the Twins with the 20th overall pick in the 2002 Major League Baseball draft from Tampa Catholic. Span turned down just over $2 million from the Colorado Rockies in a predraft deal (who instead drafted Jeff Francis with the eighth pick) and his fall to the 20th pick cost him around $800,000.[6] Following his selection, Span signed with the Twins on August 15, 2002 which caused him to miss all of the 2002 minor league season.[7]

He started his minor league career in 2003 at Elizabethton, the Twins rookie-league affiliate.[7] In 2004, Span was promoted first to the Gulf Coast League Twins in Fort Myers, Florida and, after only appearing in 5 games,[7] for the Quad Cities of the Low Single A Midwest League. In 2005, he was promoted to Fort Myers Miracle, the Twins Advanced A affiliate, and then to the New Britain Rock Cats, the Twins Double-A affiliate.[7] In 2006, Span returned to the Rock Cats, but was promoted Triple-A Rochester Red Wings in 2007.[7]

Minnesota TwinsEdit

Span batting for the Minnesota Twins in 2008

Throughout the 2008 spring training, Span was competing with Carlos Gómez to be the Twins' starting center fielder, but ultimately lost out to Gomez and was outrighted to AAA. However, on April 6, Michael Cuddyer was placed on the 15-day disabled list and Span was called up to make his Major League debut against the Kansas City Royals. Span failed to impress the Twins (hitting .258/.324/.258) and was sent back down to AAA.[8] However, he got hot over the next 40 games in AAA (.340/.434/.481) and was recalled to the Twins where he spent the rest of 2008 season. Span's 2008 season totals were .294/.387/.432 with 6 HR, 47 RBI, and 7 triples in 93 games.[7] Span was chosen to play in the 2008 Beijing Olympics but because he had been promoted, he was forced to skip the Olympics.

In 2009, Span, unlike in 2008, got the nod to start as a left fielder. He also played center field and right field throughout the season. His 2009 stats showed some improvement from 2008, hitting .311/.392/.415 with 8 HR, 68 RBI, and 10 triples in 145 games.[7] He also stole bases 23 times while getting caught 10 times.[7] Span earned the odd distinction of becoming the player to hit both the first regular and post season hits at Yankee Stadium in 2009.

On March 13, 2010, Span made public a five-year deal worth $16.5 million with the Minnesota Twins that included an option for the 2015 season worth $9 million with a $500,000 buyout.[9] This contract effectively bought out all of Span's arbitration years but did not go beyond his available free agency. On March 31, he unintentionally hit his mother, who was sitting in the stands, with a foul ball.[10] On April 2, Span collected the first hit (a triple) and the first home run in the Twins' new ballpark Target Field in an exhibition game against the St. Louis Cardinals.

On June 29, Span tied the modern-day Major League Baseball record by hitting three triples in one game against the Detroit Tigers in an 11-4 victory. He became the 29th player since 1900 to accomplish this feat, the second Minnesota Twin (after Ken Landreaux in 1980), and the first player since Rafael Furcal performed the feat on April 21, 2002.[11][12] His night also included a single and five runs batted in.

Overall, Span hit .284/.357/.389 in his Minnesota career, with 254 walks and 321 strikeouts in 2354 at-bats and stole 90 bases in 118 attempts. Adding his strong defense gives him an overall wins above replacement of 15.9. He also became the first ever player on the 7-Day Disabled List in 2012.[8]

Washington NationalsEdit

Span during his tenure with the Washington Nationals in 2013

After being tied with the Nationals in trade rumors as far back as 2011, the Twins finally traded Span to the team on November 29, 2012 for Washington's 2011 first round pick (23rd overall), starting pitcher Alex Meyer.[13] After the trade, Span became the team's starting center fielder, moving 2012 NL Rookie of the Year Bryce Harper to left field.[14] During the 2013 season, Span set a personal and league high with a 29-game hit streak (besting the previous 2013 season high of 27 games set by former Twins teammate Michael Cuddyer). The streak ended on September 19 following an 0-4 performance against the Miami Marlins. During the streak, Span raised his season average from .258 to .281 (46 for 128) while hitting 2 HR, 9 RBI, and scoring 21 runs.[15] For the season he batted .279/.327/.380.

On December 3, 2014, Span underwent a sports hernia surgery. He claimed that he suffered this injury toward the end of the 2014 season but didn’t miss any games.[citation needed] Recovery time required 6 weeks, giving him enough time to be ready for 2015 spring training. During March 2015, Span underwent core muscle surgery. He began the 2015 season on the 15-day disabled list and made his season debut on April 19, 2015.

San Francisco GiantsEdit

On January 7, 2016, Span signed a three-year, $31 million, contract with the San Francisco Giants that included a mutual option for 2019 and $5 million in performance bonuses.[16] On June 13 at AT&T Park, Span became the first San Francisco Giant to hit a leadoff splash hit home run in the first inning into McCovey Cove and joined the San Diego Padres' Brian Giles (2008) as the only two players in the history of the ballpark to accomplish the feat.

Tampa Bay RaysEdit

On December 20, 2017, the Giants traded Span, Christian Arroyo, Matt Krook, and Stephen Woods to the Tampa Bay Rays for Evan Longoria and cash considerations.[17] On March 29, 2018, Span hit a three-run triple on Opening Day 2018 against Carson Smith of the Boston Red Sox to give the Rays a 5-4 lead. He became the third player to triple in his Rays debut.[18][19] He batted .238/.364/.385 for Tampa Bay.[20]

Seattle MarinersEdit

On May 25, 2018, the Rays traded Span and reliever Álex Colomé to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for minor leaguers Andrew Moore and Tommy Romero.[21] He hit .272 in 94 games for Seattle, hitting seven home runs. The Mariners declined the 2019 option on his contract, making him a free agent, on October 30, 2018.[22]

Personal lifeEdit

Span proposed to Anne Schleper, who won a silver medal for ice hockey with the United States in the 2014 Winter Olympics, on December 31, 2016. They married in January 2017 in Naples, Florida.[23] The couple welcomed their first child, son DJ, in October 2017.

Span founded a non-profit, The Denard Span Foundation, to aid single parent families.[24]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Neyer, Rob. "How Denard Span became Denard Span – SweetSpot Blog – ESPN". Retrieved November 29, 2012.
  2. ^ Comack, Amanda (March 19, 2013). "Raised by a single mom, Denard Span pays tribute by helping others". The Washington Times. Retrieved January 24, 2018.
  3. ^ Mooney, Roger (December 22, 2017). "Denard Span excited to play for hometown Rays — if they keep him". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  4. ^ "Tampa Catholic High School :: Denard Span". Tampa Catholic High School. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  5. ^ "Baseball America Online - 2002 Draft Preview". Baseball America. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  6. ^ Talent emerging from 2002 draft", by Keith Law from Scouts, Inc. accessed on, accessed June 4, 2007
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h "Denard Span Statistics and History". Retrieved November 29, 2012.
  8. ^ a b Sickels, John (November 30, 2012). "Prospect Retrospective and Career Profile: Denard Span". Retrieved February 18, 2014.
  9. ^ Twins reward Span with five-year contract", by Kelly Thesier from accessed on, accessed March 13, 2010
  10. ^ "Span hits mom with foul ball | News". Minnesota Twins. MLB. Retrieved November 29, 2012.
  11. ^ Maggio, Anthony (June 29, 2010). "Triple threat: Span's big night helps Twins coast". Retrieved June 30, 2010.
  12. ^ (June 29, 2010). "Span's outburst helps starter Blackburn get first win since May". Retrieved June 30, 2010.
  13. ^ "Nationals acquire Denard Span from Twins for Minor Leaguer Alex Meyer | News". June 19, 2012. Retrieved November 29, 2012.
  14. ^ "Twins trade Denard Span to Nats". Associated Press. November 29, 2012. Retrieved February 18, 2014.
  15. ^ "Denard Span Game-by-Game Stats and Performance". Retrieved February 18, 2014.
  16. ^ Shea, John (January 8, 2016). "Denard Span joining Giants' outfield". SF Gate. Retrieved January 8, 2016.
  17. ^ "Giants acquire Longoria from Rays". December 20, 2017. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  18. ^ Tampa Bay Rays on Twitter: "Meet the man, Denard Span. #RaysUp… "
  19. ^ Denard Span lifts Rays over Red Sox in opener |
  20. ^ Denard Span Minor, Fall & Winter Leagues Statistics & History |
  21. ^ Johns, Greg (May 25, 2018). "Mariners acquire Colome, Span from Rays: Club sends out young arms Moore, Romero in deal to bolster depth". Retrieved May 25, 2018.
  22. ^ Mariners To Decline Denard Span's Option - MLB Trade Rumors
  23. ^ "Giants' Denard Span marries Olympian after adorable proposal". SF Gate. Retrieved December 22, 2017.
  24. ^ Ferrell, Kandice (August 5, 2015). "Nationals Centerfielder Denard Span Empowers Single Parents". Huffington Post. Retrieved January 23, 2018.

External linksEdit