Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Span defers to Kiermaier, ready to play left field

MLB.com @wwchastain

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Denard Span has played a lot of center field in his career, so he knows the Rays have a pretty good one in place with Kevin Kiermaier, and he doesn't have a problem being in left field.

"Yeah, I'm fine with that at this point in my career," the 33-year-old Span said. "I've covered more ground -- I don't even have a good analogy for you, but I've covered a lot of ground out there.

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Denard Span has played a lot of center field in his career, so he knows the Rays have a pretty good one in place with Kevin Kiermaier, and he doesn't have a problem being in left field.

"Yeah, I'm fine with that at this point in my career," the 33-year-old Span said. "I've covered more ground -- I don't even have a good analogy for you, but I've covered a lot of ground out there.

Spring Training: Info | Tickets | Schedule | Gear

"It's just fun to watch him out there shag. I'm like, 'Man, that's how I used to look.' Now I've got to pick my spots here and there. I've got to save my bullets. But it's fun to watch."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Kiermaier looking ahead

Kiermaier gazed around the inside of the Rays' clubhouse and noted: "This will be a very young team."

"I'm considered a veteran," said Kiermaier, prior to the Rays' first full-squad workout on Monday. "I've got three-plus years in the big leagues.

"... I'm not using service time for or against anyone. You're young, you can still go out there and play, but there's going to be times when rookies are going to look like rookies. I wish we could have brought in a few more veteran guys."

Video: Cash and Kiermaier discuss roster turnover

Kiermaier allowed that he loved the team's acquisition of Span.

"I wish we had more guys like that," Kiermaier said. "But we're all about the young, controllable guys. With that being said, you've got the guys like Jake Bauers, Willy Adames, Brent Honeywell, and many more to name, where there's so much upside to them. So it will be interesting to see when those guys will make an impact on our big league club.

"It is exciting to think about, but at the same time, you know how the business side goes with the Super Two eligibility, and what not. So who knows when we'll see those guys. But it will be interesting. Bottom line, we still have so much talent in this room, and I'm very optimistic."

Kiermaier allowed that within the clubhouse they are still experiencing an "awkward time period where you're still not over" the recent activity that saw Jake Odorizzi traded and Corey Dickerson designated for assignment.

"But we'll get over them and move on," Kiermaier said. "It's always tough when you're still trying to accept what happened."

Andriese on bullpen duty
On Sunday, manager Kevin Cash told reporters the Rays will begin the season with a four-man rotation due to the many off-days during the early part of the schedule. That pushed Matt Andriese to the bullpen, largely because he's had success flip-flopping between the two roles.

Andriese would prefer to be in the rotation, but he understands the decision.

"I've proved to them that I can do that," Andriese said. "So it gives them more security. You know, 'He can operate out of that role and do both.' Obviously, I want to be in the rotation. But with my ability to do both, it will help the club in the long run."

On the bright side, Andriese allowed that learning his role at this juncture was a good thing.

"Absolutely," Andriese said. "It's all about preparation at this point."

Up next
The Rays will hold a 10:30 a.m. ET workout at the Charlotte Sports Complex on Tuesday. All workouts are open to the public. The Rays will open Grapefruit League action on Friday with a split-squad situation, playing the Orioles in Sarasota at 1:05 p.m., and the Pirates at the Charlotte Sports Complex at 1:05 p.m.

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

Tampa Bay Rays, Kevin Kiermaier, Denard Span