Span improving quickly from shoulder injury

Giants outfielder could return to spring games Friday night

Span improving quickly from shoulder injury

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- After Denard Span jammed his right shoulder leaping for a ball in center field Wednesday afternoon, he wanted to see how he felt the next morning to get a sense of how bad it was. Sure enough, Thursday morning came and it didn't feel very good at all -- but that's not the end of the story, fortunately for Span and the Giants.

"This morning, it was very sore," Span said as his teammates arrived in the clubhouse for a night game in Peoria against the Padres. "But when I got here, I knew I wasn't going to play in the night game, so I wanted to go over and get some at-bats on the Minor League side. When I got here, honestly I didn't think I was going to be able to do it."

Ah, but after some treatment and a few swings off the tee, Span was ready to roll. He got four at-bats, leading off the first four innings of a Minor League game, ripping a ball to the fence for an out in the first and legging out a triple later.

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After that day or work, Span was of the mind that he could very well be back on the field as early as Friday night's game, perhaps restarting the work he and fellow starting outfielders Angel Pagan and Hunter Pence need to get in during Spring Training to become accustomed to each other's tendencies and skills.

Span said he was diagnosed with a bone bruise, and that he passed all the strength tests, so there doesn't appear to be any structural damage to his right shoulder -- his glove side. Span was going back to the warning track on a Robinson Cano liner, leaped as the ball ticked off his glove and then landed hard with his arm extended.

For all the dives and leaps he has done in the Majors and before that, this was the first time Span had sustained this type of injury.

"I've never felt like that," he said. "I still haven't seen the replay. I don't want to watch it. I don't want to get that picture in my head. I've never fallen like that."

Span, 32, signed a three-year, $31 million contract with the Giants this offseason. He is also coming off hip surgery that ended his 2015 season, so he has been getting his legs back underneath him as well. He's not quite there on that front, as he found out on his triple against Minor Leaguers on Thursday.

"It felt like I had a washing machine on my back," Span joked.

But there is time for him not only to work past his shoulder issue but also to get back to the speed that made him 11-for-11 in steal attempts last year and has made him a strong leadoff hitter and defender for years.

"A lot of that's just endurance and getting out there and playing and getting the opportunity to leg out triples and doubles and stealing bases," Span said. "There are no limitations for me. Am I at my most explosive? No, but I feel great."

John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com. You can follow hium on Twitter @JohnSchlegelMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.