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Former Nationals CF Denard Span mulling retirement: ‘Maybe this is it’

Former Nationals CF Denard Span mulling retirement: ‘Maybe this is it’

A former Nationals leadoff man and fan favorite has reportedly come to terms with the possibility of his baseball career reaching its conclusion.

Centerfielder Denard Span played in Washington from 2013-15, hitting .292 with 62 stolen bases and 207 runs scored as the team’s primary hitter at the top of the lineup. Following stints with the San Francisco Giants, Tampa Bay Rays and Seattle Mariners over the next three seasons, Span has spent the last year and a half as a free agent.

“I haven’t announced it, officially, but maybe this is it,” Span told the Minnesota Star Tribune in a story published Saturday. “I didn’t play last year…not because of an absence of contact from teams. The offers that came my way; they didn’t seem like fair value for my services.

“I spent this past offseason getting in shape, getting ready to play in 2020, and there were two or three minor league offers. I wasn’t opposed to starting in the minors, but these didn’t seem right as far as having a chance to move up to the big club if I was doing well in Triple-A.”

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Span, a former first-round pick, started his career with the Minnesota Twins in 2008. He played five years in Minneapolis before traded to the Nationals just after the 2012 season. Washington was in desperate need of both an everyday centerfielder and a leadoff man, and Span checked off both boxes.

As a sparkplug that ignited the Nationals’ offense, Span quickly earned the appreciation of fans in D.C. His best season came in 2014, when he led the NL with 184 hits and placed 19th in MVP voting. When the Nationals clinched a playoff berth last September, Span commented on the team’s Instagram page to say his time in D.C. was the “best 3 years of my career.”

A day after he signed a free-agent contract with the Giants over the 2015-16 offseason, the Nationals moved on by acquiring Ben Revere from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for reliever Drew Storen. Revere kick-started another round of musical chairs at the center field position in D.C. until Victor Robles took over the job full-time last season.

Span admitted to the Star Tribune that while he’d be open to returning to the majors, there likely won’t be a situation that will entice him enough to do so.

“I know that if the season ever would get started,” he said, “I still would have the ability to help a team. But 36-year-old outfielders who haven’t played in two years…not happening.

“I’m very satisfied pouring my life into our family, to [my wife] Anne, a wonderful person, and our two boys.”

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Braves pitcher Mike Soroka out for season with torn right Achilles

Braves pitcher Mike Soroka out for season with torn right Achilles

Atlanta Braves ace Mike Soroka is out for the season after tearing his right Achilles tendon Monday night against the New York Mets.

Soroka was hurt in the third inning after delivering a pitch to J.D. Davis, who grounded the ball toward first baseman Freddie Freeman.

Soroka broke toward first to cover the bag, only to go down on his first step off the mound. The right-hander knew right away it was a devastating injury, one that ensures he won't be back on the mound until 2021.

"It's a freak thing that happened," manager Brian Snitker said, delivering the grim news after the Braves lost 7-2 to the Mets. "I'm sorry it did."

Soroka yelled in obvious pain and tried to walk gingerly for a couple of steps before dropping to his knees. He couldn't put any weight on the leg as he was helped toward the clubhouse with the assistance of Snitker and a trainer.

It was a major blow to the two-time defending NL East champion Braves, who had won five straight despite struggling to put together an effective rotation.

"Somebody else is going to get an opportunity," Snitker said. "Things like that happen. These guys will regroup. Somebody is going to get an opportunity to do something really good. Our young guys are going to continue to get better. We're going to be fine."

Soroka, who turns 23 on Tuesday, made his first opening day start last month after going 13-4 with a dazzling 2.68 ERA in 2019 to finish second in NL Rookie of the Year balloting and sixth for the Cy Young Award.

Soroka was making his third start of the season. He came in having allowed just two earned runs over 11 1/3 innings but struggled against the Mets, giving up three hits and four walks. He was charged with four earned runs in 2 1/3 innings, the second-shortest outing of his career.

Unfortunately for Soroka, he won't get a chance to make up for it this season.

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Phillies OF Andrew McCutchen rips Marlins for not following coronavirus protocols

Phillies OF Andrew McCutchen rips Marlins for not following coronavirus protocols

When Major League Baseball began its season two weeks ago, the Philadelphia Phillies were following all of the league's protocols to conduct as safe of a season possible in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, the Phillies were one of two teams that went this past week without playing any games. Philadelphia had six consecutive contests postponed after the Miami Marlins, the Phillies' opening weekend opponent, had a major COVID-19 outbreak within the organization. As a result, 18 Miami players tested positive for the virus. The Phils' traveling party was required to undergo additional testing as a result.

On Sunday, Philadelphia manager Joe Girardi admitted he was frustrated by the situation, but did not blame the Marlins for the outbreak. Outfielder Andrew McCutchen had a different stance on the matter.

"I was upset at everything that’s transpired through that — whoever decided to step out or not necessarily follow the health and safety protocol," McCutchen said on the latest edition of The Athletic’s Starkville podcast

"That upset me. What made me angry was that we, as the Phillies — we were the ones that ended up having to pay for that," McCutchen said. "We followed all of the health and safety protocols. We knew that was important. We understood that’s what we needed to do to be able to play this game. And we did everything right. And we paid for it."

RELATED: CARDINALS SEASON POSTPONED UNTIL FRIDAY AFTER MULTIPLE POSITIVE TESTS

The Marlins had multiple players test positive before the opening weekend Sunday finale occurred, according to multiple reports, yet they still decided to play. Plus, some members of the Marlins organization reportedly went out in Atlanta prior to the outbreak.

For McCutchen, who missed most of the 2019 season after suffering a torn ACL, not being able to play while the rest of the league was what impacted him the most. 

“And so for me, that was upsetting. I’m sitting here at home, watching 28 to 27 to 26 other teams play, and we’re sitting at home — all (testing) negative by the way," McCutchen said. "And we have to watch this happen while we did nothing wrong. So for me, that was very upsetting. It was very upsetting that we did everything right, and we were still the ones paying for it."

Unfortunately for McCutchen and the Phillies, the team's return to action will last just one game. Philadelphia's scheduled Tuesday matchup with the Yankees has already been postponed due to incoming tropical storm Isaias.

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