Scuffling Willingham still a possible trade chip

Scuffling Willingham still a possible trade chip

MINNEAPOLIS -- As the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches, Rays starter David Price is one of the most prominent chips on the market.

The Twins don't have any Major League assets in the same class as Price, but there are a few players who could be on the move before the month is over. One of them -- 35-year-old veteran Josh Willingham -- was left out of the lineup against Tampa's ace on Saturday night.

"Willy's fine," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He's healthy. He's just missing his pitch right now. He had a good one to hit last night and popped it up. The bat head was in the right spot, he just got the bottom half of it."

Willingham went 0-for-3 on Friday night, and has hit just .118 in his past 27 games. Those numbers don't make him a very tantalizing trade option, but suitors will likely be expecting the numbers Willingham posted in his first 17 games after returning from the DL on May 26 (.316, five homers, 17 RBIs).

If the Twins are "sellers" at the deadline, they'll need their slugger to flash those kinds of numbers in the next couple weeks.

"We'll just keep mixing it up and see if we can get him going," Gardenhire said.

Alex M. Smith is an associate reporter for Follow him on Twitter @asmiff. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.