Topic: Denard Span

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Keiunta Denard Span (born February 27, 1984 in Tampa, Florida) is an American Major League Baseball outfielder for the Minnesota Twins. He was selected by the Twins with the 20th overall pick in the 2002 Major League Baseball Draft from Tampa Catholic High School. Span turned down just over $2 million from Colorado in an offer for a predraft deal; he fell all the way to the 20th pick and cost himself around $800,000. He bats and throws left-handed and is known as one of the premier lead-off hitters in the AL due to his exceptional on-base percentage.

After being drafted by the Twins in 2002, Span signed with the Twins on August 15, 2002. He started his minor league at Elizabethon, Twins rookie affiliate in 2003. In 2004, he played for the Twins of the Gulf Coast League, only appearing in 5 games and for the Swing of the Quad Cities, now called the Quad Cities River Bandits of the Midwest League. In 2005, he started with Fort Myers Miracle, Twins Advanced A affiliate then was called up to the New Britain Rock Cats, the Twins Double-A affiliate. He spent the 2006 season as a member of the Rock Cats, and 2007 with the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings.

He was competing with Carlos Gomez for the 2008 starting center field job for the Twins, but let Gomez have the playing time so the Minnesota Twins could get a better deal when they traded him. His MLB debut was against the Kansas City Royals on April 6, appearing three times at plate with no hits and a walk. He was subsequently sent down to AAA Rochester in late April. He was called up to take Michael Cuddyer's place after Cuddyer's injury. Span played with the Twins for the rest of 2008 season, hitting .294/.387/.432 with 6 HR, 47 RBI, and 7 triples in 93 games. Span was chosen to play in the 2008 Beijing Olympics but because he was called up to the Twins he was forced to skip the Olympics.

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