After excellent second half in 2014, outfielder had hernia surgery in December
By Adam Berry
It's been a busy offseason for Nationals center fielder Denard Span, but he expects he'll be ready to go when he reports to Viera, Fla., for Spring Training.
Span called in to MLB Network's "Hot Stove" show on Tuesday morning to discuss his rehab from sports hernia surgery and the expectations surrounding him and the Nats heading into this year.
Span underwent surgery to repair a sports hernia on Dec. 3, and he said he feels great a little more than two months later.
"Honestly, I'm working toward Day 1, being able to work through all the drills and do everything I'm supposed to be doing. But from talking with our training staff, we're going to be a little smart," Span said. "The last month and a half, I've been pushing myself as far as workouts and swinging and getting my fly balls and ground balls to prepare myself for Spring Training."
Span, who will turn 31 later this month, hit .302/.355/.416 with 31 stolen bases for Washington last season. He broke out in the second half, batting .346/.403/.459, a torrid stretch he attributed to being more comfortable with the Nationals and hitting coach Rick Schu -- not to the rumors that he might be bumped from the starting lineup upon Ryan Zimmerman's return.
"Honestly, I did hear it, but I think I said time and time again things like that don't inspire me. Does it upset me? Maybe a little bit," Span said. "But I'm the type of person that I'm very goal-oriented. I'm a very driven person by nature. Things like that don't push me. I think my work ethic and things I want to accomplish in this game push me year-in and year-out to give my maximum effort."
The same will be true for Span this year, his final season before he's eligible for free agency. Offseason surgery wasn't the ideal start to Span's walk year, but he didn't seem particularly worried about what will happen next offseason.
"I'm excited about my future, excited about this season. I'm looking forward to doing what I do and letting all the chips fall in God's hands," Span said. "That's where my heart and my mind is is trusting and believing that I'll be where I'm supposed to be after this year."
For what it's worth, Span has had some more immediate concerns on his mind. For one, he got engaged on Saturday.
"Just an unbelievable day," Span said.
Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.