MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Span goes all out for incredible leaping grab

Nationals center fielder robs Cubs slugger Rizzo with catch against wall

Span goes all out for incredible leaping grab

WASHINGTON -- Nationals center fielder Denard Span is so good with the glove that his teammates always expect him to make a great catch.

"It takes the amazing out of it because it has become standard," Nationals reliever Blake Treinen said. "He just makes great catches all the time. You come to expect it, I guess."

During the Nationals' 7-5 victory over the Cubs on Friday, Span made a catch in the eighth inning that had fans at Nationals Park and teammates in awe.

Must C: Span leaps to rob Rizzo

With one out and Washington leading, 6-4, Span was playing Anthony Rizzo to pull the ball to right-center field. But Treinen threw a four-seam fastball -- clocked at 96 mph -- to Rizzo, who extended his arms and hit the ball to left-center field. Treinen thought the ball was over the fence for a home run.

"When he hit it, it sounded good," Treinen said. "I turned around and said, 'Please, just stay in.'"

Rizzo could have had at least a double, but Span reached a top speed of 18.6 mph as tracked by Statcast™, jumping to make a tremendous catch up against the left-center-field wall.

"I just reacted. I tried to get back as fast as possible. I knew the wall was coming up. I just made a play," said Span, who also contributed an RBI single. "I stuck my glove [out] and squeezed my glove."

Span's RBI single

Left fielder Michael Taylor got a closeup view of Span's incredible catch.

"To go that far at full speed, knowing where the wall is and making the grab like that is pretty incredible," Taylor said. "It's pretty incredible. I don't think people realize how difficult it is to run full speed, know where you are at on the field and then jump as high as he did while going full speed. It's a pretty special thing."

Span said making the great catch is as good as getting a base hit.

"Not a home run, but a hit," Span said.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.