"He didn't have much success yesterday," Gardenhire said of Willingham. "I think he was a little devastated he didn't take too good of swings. He was a little flustered and I could see that, so this was a good day to let him sit and help me manage."
It's been a down year for Willingham, who is hitting just .211/.347/.375 with 14 homers and 48 RBIs in 108 games. The 34-year-old hit .260/.366/.524 with 35 homers and 110 RBIs in 145 games last year en route to winning an American League Silver Slugger Award.
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.