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Updated: May 7th, 2012 10:05am
Outfield prospect Joe Benson demoted to Double-A after slow start

Outfield prospect Joe Benson demoted to Double-A after slow start

by Phil Mackey
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The major league club isn't the only one struggling these days.

The Minnesota Twins announced Monday that outfielder Joe Benson was demoted from Triple-A Rochester to Double-A New Britain after hitting just .179/.269/.316 with two home runs in his first 108 plate appearances for the Red Wings.

Coming off a 2011 season in which he hit .284/.387/.491 with 59 extra-base hits, Benson was rated as Baseball America's 99th-best prospect heading into spring training. The Twins wanted him to improve his plate discipline and cut down on strikeouts, but his 27 whiffs so far put him on pace for 135.

Twins executives believe Benson's outfield defense is major league-ready right now, but his bat has clearly taken a step back.

In 2010 Benson was demoted from Double-A to High-A, which eventually propelled him to hitting 27 total home runs en route to being named Twins minor league position player of the year.

Outfielder Clete Thomas cleared waivers and will be assigned to Rochester. Shortstop Pedro Florimon will also join the Red Wings after hitting .283/.347/.372 in his first 127 plate appearances for New Britain.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
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In this story: Joe Benson