Nationals center fielder Denard Span returns to the lineup today against the St. Louis Cardinals. He was activated off the seven-day disabled list after suffering a concussion in a game against the Atlanta Braves on April 11.
Span played two rehab games for low Single-A Hagerstown and suffered no setbacks.
“It feels good,” Span said. “A couple of days in Hagerstown definitely gets my appreciation for being here up a few notches and I am ready to go.
“Felt good. I didn’t see many strikes. It was just good to be out there running around. They have a good group of guys in Hagerstown. It was good just to be out there playing.”
Span said he started to feel better while rehabbing with the Nats during their road trip in Miami at the beginning of the week.
“I think the first day I went out there and took BP in Miami I was a little lethargic, a little tired for not doing anything for two days,” Span said. “But I came out there the second day and I felt fine.”
Span has unfortunately had to deal with a concussion before. In 2011, the concussion symptoms lingered. Span played in only 70 games that season with the Twins. How is this recovery compared to what happened three seasons ago?
“Definitely a good feeling,” Span said. “I think definitely more educated. Definitely more prepared for this incident as opposed to the incident I had three years ago. I got good people around me, good people making sure I take care of myself. I think that is the biggest difference.”
Span said it was special to be back playing Single-A ball again. It was the first time he had played even close to that level of the minors since the Florida State League in 2005.
“It brought back a lot of memories,” Span said. “Watching those kids play and watching those kids go about their business. It reminded me a lot of myself when I was 19 or 20 years old. It was actually a lot of fun. Everyone was happy to have me there, trying to pick my brain a little bit. It was a good time in general, but definitely happy to be back here.”
Does he worry about concussions while he is out playing in the field or running the bases during a game?
“I try not to think about it,” Span said. “Even when I get out there today, I am not going to think about that I had a concussion a few days ago. I am just going to go out there and play and play the game as if I did or did not have a concussion.”