The Sports Xchange

MLB Team Report - Minnesota Twins - INSIDE PITCH

HOUSTON -- Less than two hours before the first pitch of the series opener with the Astros, Twins left fielder Josh Willingham was pulled from the starting lineup and traded to the Kansas City Royals for minor league right-hander Jason Adam.

The Twins appeared poised to place someone on the disabled list in order to make room for reinstated first baseman Joe Mauer. Instead Willingham, 35, was shipped to provide the first-place Royals an additional bat. Willingham is batting just .210/345/.402 with 12 home runs and 34 RBIs this season, but in two-plus seasons with the Twins, he's hit .232/.353/.446 with 61 home runs and 192 RBIs in 324 games.

"Obviously the goal was to win with the Twins," said Willingham, who signed with the Twins Dec. 15, 2011. "Unfortunately, we weren't. Now I have a chance to go help another club and hopefully make the playoffs."

For Willingham, making it to the postseason would serve as a triumph considering he has never participated in the playoffs in his 11th seasons in the bigs with previous stops with the Marlins, Nationals and Athletics.

"I'm happy for him," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I'm excited for him to go get in a pennant race. He hasn't enjoyed that I don't think but one time in his career. He's a pleasure and it's a tough moment for everyone in this clubhouse that's been here with him. He's a really good guy to have around, a great baseball player and a better person. It was hard; it wasn't easy to see him go. But I'm happy that he's going to a ball club that's in a big race and he's going to get to see what that's like."

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MLB Team Report - Minnesota Twins - NOTES, QUOTES

RECORD: 53-64

STREAK: Won two

NEXT: Twins (RHP Yohan Pino, 1-4, 4.59 ERA) at Astros (RHP Collin McHugh, 4-9, 3.18 ERA)

PLAYER NOTES:

--1B Joe Mauer was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list and finished 2-for-4 with a walk and the game-winning RBI in the ninth inning off Astros RHP Josh Fields. Mauer extended his hitting streak to 13 games despite having missed 34 games with a strained right oblique that landed him on the DL on July 2.

--LF Josh Willingham was traded to the Kansas City Royals roughly two hours before the first pitch. Willingham was batting .210/.345/.402 with 12 home runs and 34 RBIs this season and hit .232/.353/.446 with 61 homers and 192 RBIs over 324 games and two-plus season with the Twins.

--RHP Jason Adam was acquired from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for LF Josh Willingham. In 27 games (18 starts) with Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha, Adam went 5-9 with a 4.67 ERA. Adam was ranked by Baseball America as the Royals' ninth-best prospect. He was a fifth-round selection by Kansas City in 2010 draft.

--LHP Tommy Milone did not receive a decision in his Twins debut, working six innings while allowing two runs on eight hits (including two solo home runs) and three walks with five strikeouts. Milone was acquired via trade from the Oakland Athletics on July 31. He made one start with Triple-A Rochester on Aug. 5, allowing one run on six hits and two walks with three strikeouts over seven innings at Louisville.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's just a crazy day. It started with a 6 a.m. wake-up call and catch a flight to get here, so it's a good way to end." -- 1B Joe Mauer, who was activated from the disabled list and finished 2-for-4 with a walk and the game-winning RBI in the ninth inning Monday.

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