Benson is eager to put '12 season behind him

Outfielder Joe Benson flashed a wide grin as he talked about his chances of making the Twins in 2013.

"I can't even begin to describe how excited I am, going from the worst summer athletically of my entire life to kind of getting a second chance and getting a crack at it. I can't wait for the first day of spring training."

Benson entered 2012 as a prospect on the rise, but it turned out to be a lost season. He batted .179 in 28 games at Class AAA Rochester before being demoted to Class AA New Britain, where he batted .184.

Then there were the injuries. He broke his left wrist and missed six weeks. In August, he came down with a knee injury. Doctors went in looking to do a routine cleanup but ended up performing microfracture surgery. He was shut down for three months.

Apparently healthy, Benson, 24, is eager to regain his status as one of the Twins' better prospects. He is a center field candidate along with Aaron Hicks and Darin Mastroianni and probably has the most to prove. He's built like a running back, has good speed and can hit the ball a long way but needs to make more contact.

"We're gonna clean the slate," Twins General Manager Terry Ryan said. "He's 100 percent. He's a talented kid. I think he's maturing and starting to figure out that opportunities are here and he should take advantage."

It's going to be a crowded camp

The Twins are bringing 66 players to camp this year. Can a team ever bring too many players?

"I don't think we ever have too many," Ryan said. "We are going to lose some of them to the World Baseball Classic [in March]. The camp is so long we want to make sure that by the time we leave in March that we have peaked instead of guys being burned out."

And the Twins appear willing to push their camp roster up another one or two players. They are monitoring the free agent market to see if some players will lower their demands as spring approaches.

One indication that the market could be changing is that former Twin Delmon Young signed with Philadelphia for $750,000 after making $6.75 million last season with Detroit. Young can earn up to $600,000 more if he maintains a certain weight.

Nationals were careful with Meyer

Stephen Strasburg isn't the only pitcher the Nationals shut down last fall. Alex Meyer, pitching for Washington's Class A Potomac team, was told to take the last couple of weeks off, too. Now the Twins will benefit from the Nationals' caution.

"When I finished last year, I had thrown 129 innings, but I felt strong finishing up," said Meyer, the hard-throwing righthander acquired for Denard Span in November. "I haven't been told anything" about this season.

That includes where he'll play -- the former first-round pick is already 23, having spent three seasons at the University of Kentucky, so the Twins could logically start him at Class AA New Britain. Wherever he goes, Meyer hopes to expand a repertoire that's mostly two-seam fastballs right now. "The main thing I'm working on this winter is developing a changeup," he said. "I'm working on it as much as I can."

When he's not throwing, Meyer, who is a semester or two short of a degree in agricultural development, is working as a substitute teacher in his hometown of Greenburg, Ind., a small farm community roughly halfway between Indianapolis and Cincinnati. He said he has taught at every level from kindergarten to high school.

Are the preschoolers impressed that he's a pro ballplayer?

"I don't think they understand that," the 6-foot-9 Meyer said. "The thing they care about is how tall I am."

Gibson works on changing speeds

Kyle Gibson is slowly adding velocity to his fastball as he recovers from Tommy John elbow surgery. But he wants to subtract some velocity, too.

Gibson, considered a likely candidate to earn a spot in the Twins rotation, said he has found it difficult so far to change speeds.

"My changeup is anywhere from 82-85 [mph], so it's pretty close to my fastball," which is slowly climbing back into the low 90s, Gibson said. "With my slider at 84-87, that's not enough speed difference."

Attendance down

So how does losing affect TwinsFest? The club estimated that about 25,000 fans attended TwinsFest this year, down around 6,000 from the 2012 event.


  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Team Irvin 7:15 PM
Team Carter
Miami 96 FINAL
Chicago 84
Oklahoma City 98 FINAL
Cleveland 108
Dallas 94 4th Qtr 5:53
New Orleans 96
Indiana 95 4th Qtr 4:02
Orlando 91
LA Clippers 101 4th Qtr 5:54
Phoenix 94
Minnesota 92 4th Qtr 3:49
Atlanta 102
Detroit 53 3rd Qtr
Toronto 58
Milwaukee 55 3rd Qtr
San Antonio 47
Boston 7:00 PM
Golden State
Washington 7:00 PM
Houston 8:30 PM
LA Lakers
Team Toews 17 FINAL
Team Foligno 12
South Florida 53 FINAL
Connecticut 66
Boston College 64 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Virginia 50 FINAL
Virginia Tech 47
Indiana 70 FINAL
Ohio State 82
Stony Brook 61 FINAL
Binghamton 54
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
UCF 46
Maine 70 FINAL
Hartford 61
Monmouth 64 FINAL
Manhattan 71
Fairfield 67 FINAL
Marist 73
Rowan 48 FINAL
Princeton 96
St Bonaventure 48 FINAL
Rhode Island 53
Duke 77 FINAL
St Johns 68
Saint Peters 69 FINAL
Siena 55
Drake 40 FINAL
Wichita State 74
Vermont 61 FINAL
UMass Lowell 50
Seton Hall 57 FINAL
Butler 77
South Alabama 55
Northern Iowa 54 FINAL
Illinois State 53
Louisville 80 FINAL
Pittsburgh 68
Albany 69
Niagara 64 FINAL
Iona 87
Notre Dame 61 2nd Half 4:09
NC State 65
Belmont 45 2nd Half 12:52
Tennessee St 37
Creighton 18 2nd Half 18:23
Villanova 31
Northwestern 25 1st Half 7:26
Maryland 19
Washington 7:30 PM
Senior-North 34 FINAL
Senior-South 13
Seton Hall 99 FINAL
Georgetown 85
St Johns 69 FINAL
Villanova 81
Arkansas 58 FINAL
Florida 72
Maine 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 55 FINAL
Alabama 52
Lafayette 60 FINAL
Lehigh 65
SMU 57
Utah 51 FINAL
Washington 63
James Madison 73 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 53
Delaware 56 FINAL
Drexel 61
Hofstra 56 FINAL
William & Mary 57
Hartford 58 FINAL
Albany 82
Binghamton 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 67
Towson 63 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 71
Wake Forest 80 FINAL
(17) Florida State 110
Georgia Tech 68 FINAL
Virginia 62
(22) Georgia 51 FINAL
(5) Tennessee 59
Drake 79 FINAL
Evansville 62
Iona 80 FINAL
Canisius 62
Fairfield 33 FINAL
Monmouth 59
Northwestern 75 FINAL
Penn State 76
Wisconsin 71 FINAL
Michigan State 77
Ohio State 79 FINAL
Purdue 71
Northern Iowa 57 FINAL
Indiana State 55
Butler 58 FINAL
Xavier 54
Creighton 93 FINAL
Marquette 75
Providence 42 FINAL
DePaul 90
Northeastern 77 FINAL
Elon 80
(2) Connecticut 96 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Oregon 78 FINAL
Arizona 81
Bradley 46 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 45
NC State 49 FINAL
(23) Syracuse 66
(7) Maryland 84 FINAL
Indiana 74
Illinois State 35 FINAL
Missouri State 58
Colorado 68 FINAL
Washington St 73
Tulane 45 FINAL
South Florida 64
(14) Kentucky 83 FINAL
Missouri 69
(9) Oregon State 68 FINAL
(13) Arizona State 57
Vermont 63 FINAL
UMass Lowell 72
Iowa State 58 FINAL
(8) Texas 57
Southern Ill 61 FINAL
Wichita State 80
(15) Duke 74 FINAL
(12) North Carolina 67
Miami-Florida 55 FINAL
(4) Louisville 68
(21) Minnesota 61 FINAL
(25) Rutgers 66
California 72 FINAL
(11) Stanford 2 1st Half 19:05
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: How optimistic are you about the 2015 Twins?

Weekly Question