Notebook: Benson tossed, then told he and Parmelee headed to majors
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Monday night wasn't shaping up too well for Minnesota Twins' prospect Joe Benson, who was ejected for arguing balls and strikes in the eighth inning of Double-A New Britain's 5-3 extra-innings, season-ending loss to Trenton.
"I said some things I probably shouldn't have," Benson said. "Just got caught up in the moment."
As the team trickled into the clubhouse, dejected and eliminated from playoff contention, Rock Cats' manager Jeff Smith gathered his players together.
"(He) came in with a big smile on his face," Benson said.
"The team got close, and he told us the Rock Cats were proud of us, the Twins were proud of us, we made a great run, we were the last team (still playing) in our minor league system."
Smith then turned toward Benson and teammate Chris Parmelee and said, "and by the way, Chris and Joe, you might want to shave, you're going to the big leagues tomorrow."
"Guys just came and bombarded us," Benson said, "picked us up, and it got crazy for a little bit, but it was exciting."
Benson and Parmelee both arrived to Target Field to find out they were being thrown right into the fire -- Benson playing center field and batting leadoff, and Parmelee playing first base and batting fifth.
"It's something I've dreamed of since I knew what baseball was, watching it on TV," Parmelee said.
"It seems like wherever (Benson) goes I go, or vice versa. We got called up to Beloit in '06 together, got sent down to Fort Myers last year, and we came back up (to New Britain) two days apart, so everything we've been doing it's been right there with him. He's like a brother through the system."
Benson actually grew up on the south side of Chicago, and his offseason residence was within snowball's range of U.S. Cellular Field -- home, obviously, to Tuesday night's opponent, the White Sox.
Benson said all of his friends are White Sox fans, but he grew up a Cubs fan because his dad's boss had season tickets to Wrigley Field -- a place Benson frequented as a kid.
But because of his Chicago roots, playing the White Sox in his first major league game carries a little more significance.
"I've been waiting for this since I can remember -- trying to fall asleep last night didn't really work," Benson said. "I probably woke up once every hour, checking my cell phone, checking my alarm, making sure I was going to be on time with everything."
Parmelee finished the Double-A season hitting .287/.366/.436 with 13 home runs, 30 doubles and 83 RBIs. Benson's season was interrupted by minor knee surgery, but he wound up hitting .285/.388/.495 with 16 homers, 28 doubles and 67 RBIs in 472 plate appearances. He also drew 56 walks and struck out 109 times -- the latter a number the Twins would like to see reduced as he matures as a hitter.
"I always love to cut down on strikeouts, but an out's an out," he said. "There's no reason to dwell on it. I thought I did a lot better putting balls in play when I needed to, especially with runners on base. There's an appropriate time to strikeout, and there's times when you have to do your best to put a ball in play and try to move a runner."
It's likely both Parmelee and Benson will both start the 2012 season at Triple-A Rochester, but they'll have a chance to turn some heads with the Twins here in September.
No Nathan deal in place last week
One day prior to last week's waiver trade deadline, closer Joe Nathan refused to waive his no-trade rights in what was a procedural request by the Twins. Players must waive no-trade clauses at least 24 hours before any potential deal takes place.
But a major league source said Monday that the Twins did not have a deal on the table for Nathan. The team requested Nathan to waive the no-trade rights just in case a deal materialized in the hours leading up to the deadline.
Nathan told 1500 ESPN in late August that he would waive his no-trade rights under the right circumstances, and he reiterated Monday that staying in Minnesota is his top priority heading into this offseason.
"That's the goal," Nathan said. "We'll see what happens."
Nathan has a $12.5 million team option for 2012 and a $2 million buyout should the Twins choose not to exercise that option.