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Willingham not interested in trade rumors

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins left fielder Josh Willingham has started to show signs that he's starting to come around offensively, and he said he's doing his best not to think about the trade rumors involving him leading up to the non-waiver Trade Deadline on July 31.

Willingham hit a go-ahead homer in the eighth inning to lead the Twins to a 4-3 win over the Indians on Monday night, a day after driving in two runs in a loss to the Rays on Sunday.

Willingham is still hitting just .217 this season entering Tuesday, but he does have a .365 on-base percentage and a .422 slugging percentage. He has nine homers, five doubles and 28 RBIs in 52 games.

Willingham is in the final year of a three-year, $21 million deal signed before the 2012 season. He's never been traded during the season but has been part of offseason trades in 2008 and '10. But he's heard his name pop up in July trade rumors in the last few seasons, and said he just tries to tune it all out.

"I pay seriously zero attention to it," Willingham said. "What I do hear comes from teammates or my wife, but I really don't pay any attention to it."

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he's been seeing positive signs from Willingham in recent days, and believes he's coming out of his recent funk.

"We've been talking about it for a couple days, but he's just on the ball right now," Gardenhire said. "We think the bat head is starting to get to the right spot. Last night, on a little hanging slider, he deposited it, which was huge for us and for him. It helps his confidence. Hopefully we can build off that."

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.

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