Span hopes to put concussion behind him

Denard Span has been assured by medical advisers that his

concussion problems are behind him. He is ready to put the

diagnosis to the test.

Span showed up at Hammond Stadium a couple of days early and

said he is eager to get back out there with the rest of the

Minnesota Twins after concussion and migraine problems limited him

to 70 games in 2011.

”I’ve been feeling good,” Span said Tuesday. ”A lot of it is

me being happy to be here, turning the page from last year and

seeing everyone’s faces. Turn the page this offseason.”

One of the team’s most reliable players both in the field and at

the plate, Span certainly wasn’t himself last season. He hit .264

with two home runs and 16 RBIs. He gave up caffeine and altered his

diet in hopes of limiting the onset of migraines, and he was told

by his chiropractor that he shouldn’t expect to experience any more

symptoms from his concussion.

”I think I’m over that concussion,” he said. ”Now it’s about

body functioning.”’

Manager Ron Gardenhire already has penciled Span in as his

starting center fielder, even though rookie Ben Revere made several

highlight-reel catches while Span was injured last season. Revere

will be in left field and newcomer Josh Willingham will play right

field regularly for the first time in his career.

Gardenhire took it as a good sign that Span showed up and

started working out early at spring training, before the position

players were due to report on Thursday.

”He doesn’t have to be here,” he said. ”He doesn’t have to

report. It’s good to see him out there running around.”

Span wants to push himself early in camp to give himself the

confidence to know that he can get through an entire day without

any problems. There have been days in the offseason when he felt

woozy or foggy, but nothing that he thinks will hamper him once the

full team begins working out on Friday.

”The trainers came to me and asked me what I was going to do,”

Span said. ”I said I’m going to go until I tell you I can’t go or

when I feel a certain way.”

The team is prepared for Span to go through some ups and downs,

just like first baseman Justin Morneau has experienced the last two

years while recovering from multiple concussions.

Still, he’s being cautiously optimistic. Head injuries are a

tricky thing to work through, and can return in a moment’s

notice.

”Everyone has good days and bad days and it is just about

getting through them,” Span said. ”I think Justin will tell you

if you have a concussion you kind of think too much. You wake up in

the morning. On a bad day, you’re like, `Am I just not feeling well

today or is it concussion symptoms?’

”I’ve got to push away from that and get on the field and just

fight through it.”