FORT MYERS, FLA. - Twins outfielder Josh Willingham is optimistic that the offense will be productive this season, but one key will be who replaces outfielder Denard Span and Ben Revere at the top of the order.
Both were traded during the offseason for pitching help, leaving the Twins without two players who could get on base and use their speed.
"A lot of it is going to depend on the top of the order,'' said Willingham, who reported to camp on Friday. "Denard and Ben did a lot of good things for us, offensively and defensively. We're going to have to get some people to step up and pick up some of the slack.''
Because of Span, Revere and No. 3 hitter Joe Mauer getting on base, Willingham had a career-high 110 RBI last season to go with a career-high 35 home runs, ninth most in club history in a single season. Someone mentioned to Willingham that he set the bar high for himself this season.
"If I don't hit 50 [homers] this year, I'm going home,'' he joked. "I've never hit that many home runs before or driven in that many runs before. A lot of it had to do with some guys at the top of the order. Obviously Joe. Hitting behind him, he was on base all the time.''Single-game tickets
The Twins, who are experiencing about a 17 percent drop in season ticket sales, will get another indicator of what attendance could be like this season starting Saturday when single game ticket sales begin.
"We expect a good day in regards to single-game sales," Twins President Dave St. Peter said. "The reality is there is more inventory available for single-game buyers, which gives all fans better opportunities to secure seats to the most appealing dates and matchups.''
Tickets can be purchased Saturday at the Target Field ticket office, online at twinsbaseball.com or by calling 612-338-9467 or 1-800-338-9467. They are available at Twins pro shops beginning Monday.Etc.
• Third baseman Deibinson Romero is the only position player to not report on time, as he's dealing with visa issues. "They are doing their due diligence,'' General Manager Terry Ryan said. "... I don't know when he is going to come.'' Romero, 26, never has had visa problems until this year, and Ryan stressed that Romero is not at fault.
• Lefthander Rafael Perez, signed to a minor league deal Thursday, will earn $1.2 million if he makes the team. Perez worked out for a number of scouts Tuesday, and the Twins were satisfied that he recovered well from offseason shoulder surgery.
Acquired: Signed as a minor league free agent Dec. 9
2012 stats: Hit .244 in 20 games with the White Sox, his first big-league action since 2007. Batted .273 in 80 games with Class AAA Charlotte.
Role: Utility infielder/pinch hitter for Class AAA Rochester if he sticks. Would be emergency option for the major league club.
Other stuff: This is Olmedo's 10th organization. He made the Reds' Opening Day roster in 2004.
LA VELLE E. NEAL III
|Coll of Charleston||53|
|William & Mary||57|
|(17) Florida State||110|
|(9) Oregon State||68||FINAL|
|(13) Arizona State||57|
|(12) North Carolina||67|