Former Twin Josh Willingham is thriving with the Royals

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER
  • Updated: August 27, 2014 - 4:59 PM

The former Twin has been raking at the plate since his move to the Royals offense.

hide

Kansas City Royals designated hitter Josh Willingham scores on a single by Lorenzo Cain during the second inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas, on Friday, Aug. 22, 2014.

Photo: Max Faulkner, Mct - Mct

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

– Josh Willingham got a great scouting report Tuesday on what to expect if he faces Twins closer Glen Perkins during this series. And he’s pretty sure it’s reliable. It came from Perkins.

“I saw him in the dugout today, and I told him, ‘You’ll probably get a fastball or two, but the rest are going to be sliders. I just hope I hang one bad enough for you to swing and miss,’” Perkins said. “He knows all my secrets.”

Maybe so, but it doesn’t look as if the Twins’ former cleanup hitter needs any inside information these days. In two weeks since being dealt to the Royals, Willingham has fit right in with, batting .306 with two home runs, a .390 on-base percentage and a .583 slugging percentage.

“I’m swinging it pretty well right now,” Willingham said. “I was feeling pretty good” when he was traded Aug. 11.

Completely healthy once more — his 2014 season was largely spoiled by a broken bone in his wrist that he suffered during the season’s first week — Willingham said he feels “energized” by the Royals’ winning ways. His lone experience with a pennant race came in 2008, when his then-Florida Marlins finished 7½ games behind the Phillies, and six games out of a wild-card spot. So these two weeks, and the month still to come, have reminded him how enjoyable baseball is when the games are important.

“Yeah, it’s fun. The games — I don’t want to say the games mean more, because you always play to win, but there’s a little bit of juice, a little extra incentive. It’s fun to be a part of,” the 35-year-old designated hitter said. “I might play 10 more years. I might play till I’m 45.”

Well, nobody ever thought of him as a latter-day Julio Franco, but OK. That must mean he’s planning to play again in 2015, though some Twins teammates suspected he was considering walking away once his three-year contract expires at season’s end.

“I haven’t even thought about it, actually, but I’d imagine so,” Willingham said. “That’s still a long way off.”

He’s been looking forward to Tuesday for awhile, because of who was coming to town. Not the Twins — his family members, who packed up his house in Minneapolis during the Royals’ visit to Target Field a week earlier, and moved everything back to Florence, Ala. His three sons, ages 7, 4 and 2, were due in town to check out the new team and stadium, and Willingham said they will play a part in his decision about playing on next year.

“It’s part of baseball, to be away from the kids, especially when they get old enough to go to school. Then you’re away from them until school gets out in May,” he said. “But we’re together a lot after that, and they enjoy what I do. They like the baseball part of it. But that all gets decided after the season.”

Until then, he’ll focus on hitting in the clutch; Willingham is batting .320 with a runner on third base this season, part of the reason the Royals wanted him. It might mean he’ll face Perkins with the game on the line.

“He knows what I throw, and I know what he’s looking for,” said Perkins, who won a 10-pitch battle in Minneapolis last week, striking out his former teammate.

Added Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, “We know where his hit zone is, I can tell you that. We know what area code to keep the ball away from. Whether we can do that remains to be seen.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
8:10 PM ET123456789RHE
ArizonaJ. Collmenter (10-8)000
MinnesotaR. Nolasco (5-11)000
@theBallpark
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box

ADVERTISEMENT

Cleveland 4 Suspended
Kansas City 2
Baltimore - W. Chen 6:05 PM
NY Yankees - M. Pineda
Kansas City - D. Duffy 6:05 PM
Cleveland - C. Carrasco
Seattle - J. Paxton 6:07 PM
Toronto - J. Happ
Chicago WSox - C. Bassitt 6:08 PM
Detroit - K. Lobstein
Pittsburgh - F. Liriano 6:10 PM
Atlanta - A. Harang
Houston - N. Tropeano 7:05 PM
Texas - D. Holland
St. Louis - A. Wainwright 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - T. Wood
Arizona - J. Collmenter 7:10 PM
Minnesota - R. Nolasco
LA Angels - C. Wilson 9:05 PM
Oakland - J. Samardzija
San Francisco - J. Peavy 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - D. Haren
Colorado - T. Matzek 9:10 PM
San Diego - E. Stults
Chicago 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Buffalo 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Green Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Tennessee 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Carolina 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Detroit 9/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Tampa Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Miami 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Oakland
Jacksonville 9/28/14 3:05 PM
San Diego
Atlanta 9/28/14 3:25 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 9/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
New Orleans 9/28/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
Ottawa 2 FINAL
NY Islanders 3
Ottawa 5:00 PM
NY Islanders
New Jersey 0 2nd Prd
NY Rangers 0
Detroit 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Toronto 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Washington 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Winnipeg
St. Louis 7:30 PM
Dallas
Anaheim 8:00 PM
Colorado
Colorado 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Los Angeles 9:00 PM
Arizona
Arizona 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 23 FINAL
Hamilton 25
Calgary 15 FINAL
Montreal 31
Ottawa 32 FINAL
Saskatchewan 35
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How sure are you that the Twins are on the road to improving?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close