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Span opens first spring with hometown team

MLB.com @wwchastain

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Denard Span arrived to camp on Saturday excited to be playing for his hometown team.

Tempering that excitement is the uncertainty of whether the Rays -- who acquired him from the Giants in the Evan Longoria trade -- will trade him, and his $11 million salary, rather than have the veteran patrol left field.

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Denard Span arrived to camp on Saturday excited to be playing for his hometown team.

Tempering that excitement is the uncertainty of whether the Rays -- who acquired him from the Giants in the Evan Longoria trade -- will trade him, and his $11 million salary, rather than have the veteran patrol left field.

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"I'm not sure what's going to happen," Span said. "I can't control that. All I can do is control what I can control. That's cliche, but just come in with a good attitude and come ready to work every day and try to be a good example for a lot of young guys in this organization and pass on as much knowledge as I can. I think that's my job at this point in my career -- and to prove that I still have something left in this young tank of mine."

Span said he tried not to think about getting to play for his hometown team for fear of jinxing that prospect.

"I'm just taking in one day at a time, to be honest," Span said. "I think once Opening Day comes and I have this uniform on, then I think it will really hit me. But it really hasn't hit me yet because of all the rumors and speculation. It definitely is a weird feeling, to be honest, to be playing for my hometown team."

Span attended Tampa Catholic High School in advance of joining the Twins' organization after being selected in the first round of the 2002 Draft. He lives in Tampa.

Video: Top Prospects: Joe McCarthy, OF/1B, Rays

What's in a Name?
Joe McCarthy is in Major League camp for the first time this spring. Last spring, the outfielder, who studied history at the University of Virginia, was in Minor League camp but made an impression during several Grapefruit League stints.

Obviously, Joe McCarthy is a storied name, from the Hall of Fame manager to the U.S. senator from the 1950s. The significance of both is not lost on McCarthy.

"You wouldn't believe how many times I get worn out because of my name," McCarthy said. "I never get heckled because of the manager, it's because of Sen. Joe McCarthy. I'm actually Joe McCarthy IV. You have to deal with it. It's all good fun."

Worth noting

Christian Arroyo, who came to the Rays in the trade that sent Longoria to the Giants, appears to be over the broken left hand that ended his 2017 season. The infield hopeful is playing defense, and he said he is "not restricted" with his hitting. He expects to start facing live pitching by the first of next week.

Corey Dickerson experienced a more balanced offseason following 2017 than he has recently, and he's in prime shape. The Rays left fielder/DH lost 25 pounds prior to the 2017 season, but he did not begin lifting weights until January 2017. This past offseason, he continued to eat well and lift weights, which he believes will benefit him this season.

"This is the first time I've had a full, healthy offseason since before 2015," said Dickerson, who addressed the fact he hit better in the first half of 2017 than the second. "After the All-Star break, it's not only physical, but you hit that kind of mental wall, too. I think I just tried to prepare myself this offseason to have a little more strength, so I don't have to rely so much on my mental side."

Alex Colome noted that he doesn't concern himself with trade talks involving him.

"My job is to make sure I'm there health-wise and stay strong and get that opportunity to pitch and not worry about the trade talks or anything else outside of the game," Colome said. "It's something you can't control."

Up Next
On Sunday, the Rays will conduct a 10:30 a.m. ET workout at the Charlotte Sports Complex. Though it's just pitchers and catchers "officially," plenty of position players have already reported to camp. Workouts are open to the public.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2004.

Tampa Bay Rays, Joe McCarthy, Denard Span