Denard Span was anxious. He took a few wrong turns on his way from his hometown of Tampa to Viera on Tuesday night. Thankfully his navigation system guided him but his drive was an hour longer than it should have been. He arrived in Viera at 12:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, laid out his clothes (red shorts, a black t-shirt and shoes) at the foot of his bed and couldn’t sleep, eager for his first day in Nationals camp like the new kid before first day of school. It’s easy to understand his eagerness; he’s been with one organization, the Minnesota Twins, for his entire 10-year professional career.
“It seems like spring training took a little bit longer to come, it seemed like. I’m so excited about just everything, a new chapter, coming to a new team and finally to get here last night after a three-hour drive,” he said, standing at his locker Wednesday morning, a blue Twins bag of his gear at his feet. “I didn’t sleep much. I think I went to sleep about 4:30 but kept waking up every couple hours.”
Span, 28, met some of his teammates for the first time at NatsFest a few weeks ago in Washington and on Wednesday morning, in an nearly empty clubhouse, he still hadn’t seen any fellow Nationals because the pitchers and catchers were receiving their physicals. He unpacked some of his belongings and introduced himself to the clubhouse attendants, trying to learn their names. Span said he always reports early to camp, but had more reason to do so now with a new team.