Denard Span believes he's a good major league center fielder, and he'd like to stay there, but if he had to choose between center field and staying with the Twins, he'd prefer to remain in Minnesota.
"Obviously I know what I'm capable of doing. I know I can play the center field position at a pretty high level. That's where I want to be," Span said Wednesday. "But I'm willing to swallow my pride, and if it's going help the team win, or if it's going to keep me here in Minnesota, then I'll do whatever it takes."
Because the Twins are relatively deep in the outfield, at both the major and minor league levels, trading Span is widely considered one of the team's best ways to acquire starting pitching for 2013, something the team desperately needs. And though Ben Revere has been playing right field when Span is in the lineup, most believe Revere is more suited to center because of his unparalleled range and the fact his arm isn't particularly strong.
If Span moved to a corner spot, Revere could move into center and presumably improve the outfield defense further.
"I think if somebody says that we can't (play in the same outfield), that's just an excuse, or that's just making up something to justify one of us getting traded, or somebody else, or whatever," Span said. "I guarantee if you ask the majority of these pitchers if they like both of us out there, I guarantee you they'll say yes."
General manager Terry Ryan said he was happy to hear those words from Span but added, "That's not an issue. Benny's been fine in right field."
The issue, of course, is pitching. The Twins have used 12 pitchers to start games this season and will head into the winter without a clear view of their 2013 rotation. With a combined record of 39-72 and 5.51 ERA through Tuesday, Twins rotation will finish this season statistically as the worst in the American League.
"I understand the situation the organization is in; they have to make some moves," Span said. "They have to be proactive, and it's going to come from one or two ways, and one is probably going to be by making a trade or two. I do understand and realize my position, I guess."
And though Span has been candid about his desire to play center field, he doesn't want to be traded, even if it means playing a corner outfield spot. If it makes the team better, Span, the Twins' first-round pick in the 2002 draft, is up for it.
"I'm comfortable here. Everybody here knows me, the fans treat me nice. I love it. I've grown to love being here," he said. "This is my fourth or fifth year and if it worked out, I would rather be here. If I had to make a decision, or they gave me the choice, I'd rather stay here."
Span and Revere, batting first and second, respectively, each went 0-for-4 Wednesday as the Twins lost 8-2 to the New York Yankees.