Updated: December 6th, 2012 1:41pm
Twins' GM: Hicks, Mastroianni, Benson to compete for starting CF job

Twins' GM: Hicks, Mastroianni, Benson to compete for starting CF job

by Phil Mackey
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By trading outfielders Denard Span and Ben Revere, the Minnesota Twins now have a gaping hole at one of the most important positions on the diamond.

In an interview with 1500 ESPN on Thursday, shortly after the Revere trade went through, general manager Terry Ryan said the Twins' starting centerfield job will be an open competition next spring between Aaron Hicks, Joe Benson and Darin Mastroianni.

Mastroianni was one of the Twins' most productive and exciting players last season, hitting .252/.328/.350 with 21 stolen bases and solid outfield defense.

Hicks, one of the Twins' best prospects, had a breakout season for Double-A New Britain last year, hitting .286/.384/.460 with 13 home runs, 11 triples, 21 doubles and 32 stolen bases. He also has a strong throwing arm.

Joe Benson received a taste of the big leagues in 2011, but he had a disasterous season in the minor last year. Hamptered by hand and knee injuries, Benson hit just .202/.288/.336 with six home runs between multiple levels. He is currently rehabbing his surgically-repaired knee in Fort Myers.

Barring another trade, Josh Willingham and Chris Parmelee will play in the corner outfield spots. Oswaldo Arcia, who dominated Double-A last season, is also in the mix for outfield playing time.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
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