FORT MYERS, FLA. - Twins staffers used to tell Ben Revere that he had an unusual effect on the general manager.
"They said, 'We never see Terry Ryan smile,' " Revere said. " 'But when you're around, he always smiles.' "
Turns out, Revere can make Ryan cry too.
He got to the verge of it, anyway, during the phone call last Dec. 6 when Ryan broke the news to Revere that his six-season career with the Twins was over. The Phillies had offered two young pitchers for the Twins' base-stealer, and the offer was too good to turn down.
"We talked for at least 30 minutes. Terry kind of teared up a little bit, and made me tear up," Revere said of that goodbye call. "I told him, 'Thank you for the opportunity, for giving me a chance to get to the big leagues.' "
Revere thought he had inherited center field and the leadoff spot when Denard Span was traded in late November. Instead, he was shocked a week later to be headed out of town too.
On Wednesday, Revere saw his former teammates for the first time since the trade, and he quickly reminded the Twins of what they will be missing. Wearing No. 2 instead of his old No. 11 -- "Of course, Denard called me and said, 'Oh, you want to copy me, don't you?' " Revere said with a laugh -- he led off the exhibition game by lining a single to right, stole second, then scored on a single by Ryan Howard.
"That's what he does," manager Ron Gardenhire said of his former outfielder, who collected two hits in four at-bats and scored two runs in the Phillies' 12-5 loss to the Twins. "He put a couple of nice swings out there. He can hit."
That wasn't always a given, despite Revere's first-round pedigree from the 2007 draft. The 5-9 Louisville native was a controversial pick -- most observers figured the Twins chose him because they knew he'd come cheap -- and Revere felt pressure right away.
Ryan challenged him to live up to the Twins' confidence, and Revere made it clear how much respect he has for the man who drafted him -- and the Twins' entire organization.
"Terry Ryan, he was a Ben Revere fan from the start. I told him I was not going to let him down," Revere said.
But didn't he feel let down when Ryan shipped him away?
"I was not upset whatsoever," Revere said. "I know it's a business."
In fact, before Revere took questions from reporters Wednesday, he took the unusual step of thanking his former employers.
"First of all, I want to say to the Minnesota Twins, up and down from the front office to the players, I just want a chance to say thank you," he said.
"They're the reason why I'm here. They just worked with me from 2007 to now, making me a better player. Getting a chance to go to that organization was a blessing."
Revere said he's been receiving Twitter messages from Minnesotans all winter, lamenting the trade and asking him to come back.
Revere understands the Twins' motives though. And so does his old manager -- whose initial response when Ryan told him of the trade proposal, Gardenhire said, was "So ... who's going to play center?"
"We got two pretty good pitchers for Ben Revere," Gardenhire said. "We wouldn't have settled for anybody, but after seeing [Vance] Worley and [Trevor] May, I'm impressed."
He said he will be watching Revere too. And Revere, a classic slap-hitter, said he might have a surprise for his fans, now that he's moving to the bandbox known as Citizens Bank Park: A home run.
"It was so hard to hit one out of Target Field," said Revere, who never homered in 989 at-bats with the Twins. "Now? We'll see. I'm not going to try. Well, unless we're up by like 15 -- then you may see a leg kick in there."