DETROIT -- The Twins officially recalled right-hander P.J. Walters from Triple-A Rochester to start against the Tigers on Saturday, but it cost them former elite prospect Joe Benson in the process.
To make room for Walters on the 40-man roster, the Twins placed Benson, who was at Rochester, on outright waivers, and he was claimed by the Rangers. Outfielder Oswaldo Arcia was optioned to Rochester after Friday's game to make room for Walters on the 25-man roster.
Walters, 28, fared well in nine starts with Rochester, posting a 3.31 ERA with 46 strikeouts and 16 walks in 54 1/3 innings. Walters, who had a 5.69 ERA in 12 starts with the Twins last year, also turned in six straight quality starts for the Red Wings.
"He's been throwing well," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He's able to control the baseball. He has a nice breaking ball and can add and subtract with all of his pitches. So that's the plus side even though we know he's not overpowering. He can locate and change speeds."
Benson, meanwhile, struggled in Rochester, hitting just .192/.256/.285 with one homer and nine RBIs in 42 games. It was a continuation of last year's struggles for the organization's former No. 5 prospect, as he hit a combined .202 with six homers and 36 RBIs in 76 games split between four levels because of wrist and knee injuries.
It caused his stock to plummet, as 27 teams passed on the chance to claim Benson for $20,000, with the Rangers having the second-best record in the Majors.
"He's done some good things, and we expected big things from him, but he's just struggled the last couple of years," Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said. "Maybe a change of scenery would be good for him."
Benson, 25, was the organization's Minor League Player of the Year in '10 and got his first taste of the Majors as a September callup in '11, batting .239 with six doubles and a triple in 21 games. But he has hit just .187 in 70 games in Triple-A over the last two years.
"We've been waiting on that fifth tool," Antony said. "He's a pretty good player as he showed a few years ago. Got a taste in September and hasn't been able to [get back]. He came into Spring Training competing for the center field job, and he didn't get it and went down and has been scuffling a little bit. Maybe it's just the right thing and the right time for him."
Ramirez exits game after outfield collision
DETROIT -- Center fielder Wilkin Ramirez left Saturday's game against the Tigers after colliding with left fielder Josh Willingham in the sixth inning. He checked out OK after the game but will be re-evaluated Sunday, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Ramirez ran into Willingham while making a catch in left-center field on a fly ball from Omar Infante to end the inning.
Ramirez remained on the ground for several minutes and was looked at by team trainers Tony Leo and Dave Pruemer. Bench coach Terry Steinbach and first-base coach Scott Ullger also came out to look at Ramirez, as Gardenhire had been ejected for arguing with second-base umpire Joe West in the third inning. Ramirez was able to walk off the field on his own but left clutching his jaw.
"It looked like he got knocked out, but he came in here and it looks like he has a little bit of a sore jaw," Gardenhire said.
Willingham said he did not call for the ball because he was camped under it and was surprised by the play, adding that he was happy to hear that Ramirez was feeling better after the game.
"I was worried about him," Willingham said. "But I was talking to him the whole time, so I knew he was fine. After we collided, the first thing I looked for was the ball, so I was happy to see it was in his glove."
Aaron Hicks took over in center field in the top of the seventh inning and grounded out to second base in the ninth inning of Minnesota's eventual 3-2 win.
Gardenhire ejected in third vs. Tigers
DETROIT -- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was ejected by second-base umpire Joe West for arguing a call in the third inning of Saturday's 3-2 win over the Tigers.
West ruled that Josh Willingham interfered while sliding into second base to break up a potential double-play ball hit by Justin Morneau with Joe Mauer on second base. Mauer had to return from third base to second base on the double play because of the interference call.
Gardenhire went out to argue with West and was thrown out of the game. It was the second time he has been thrown out of a game this year, as he was tossed April 28 against the Rangers for arguing with Alfonso Marquez.
"The ruling was that I got thrown out of the game," Gardenhire said. "He didn't slide close enough to the base I guess and didn't touch second base or something like that. He said he was just trying to protect the defender. Just like he used to protect me when I played, that's what he told me. I said, 'Joe, I didn't play that much.'
"I just got thrown out. It happened pretty quickly. He told me not to point at his dirt, and I pointed at his dirt."
It was the 64th time in his career that Gardenhire was ejected, and he leads all active managers.
Willingham also said he was surprised by the call, as he slid directly at second base but did not touch the base, which was grounds for interference, according to West's ruling.
"I was stunned," the 10-year veteran said. "I hadn't heard it explained to me that way before. He told me I didn't make an attempt to touch the bag, and he was correct. But the bag was right there. Maybe he was right with the rulebook, but I've never been called out for sliding that close to the bag."
Gardenhire eager to get Arcia back in Majors
DETROIT -- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire acknowledged he was not thrilled with the decision to send down highly touted outfielder Oswaldo Arcia to Triple-A Rochester but said he thought it would benefit Arcia to get consistent playing time in the Minors.
Arcia, 22, hit .255/.318/.449 with four homers, five doubles and a triple in 30 games before being sent down after Friday's loss to the Tigers. Arcia started off hot but cooled down once pitchers started throwing him more off-speed stuff, as he ended in a 3-for-32 slump.
"I didn't want to send Arcia down," Gardenhire said. "I like watching him swing and the way he goes about his business. He's a young kid with things to learn and is swinging a little crazy right now, but there's a chance when he walks up that he'll hit a home run, and I enjoy that part of it. So he'll be back."
Arcia, ranked as the No. 86 overall prospect according to MLB.com, must remain in the Minors for 10 days before being called up unless a Twins player sustains an injury. But Gardenhire said he expected to have Arcia back soon, as long as he continues to hit like he did before being recalled. Arcia hit .394 with three homers and eight RBIs in 10 games with Rochester before his promotion to the big leagues.
"We just told him to go down and bust his tail and don't pout," Gardenhire said. "Told him to just start swinging the way he was and he'll be back up here. We just have to figure out a few things with our roster."
Wanting righties, Gardenhire shuffles lineup
DETROIT -- The Twins shuffled their lineup a bit against the Tigers on Saturday, as second baseman Brian Dozier, center fielder Aaron Hicks and designated hitter Ryan Doumit were all held out of the starting lineup.
Jamey Carroll made the start at second base with Wilkin Ramirez in center field and Chris Colabello at DH.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he wanted to get as many right-handed bats as he could in the lineup because right-hander Doug Fister shows a reverse-split and is tougher on left-handers. So it left the switch-hitting Hicks and Doumit on the bench as well as the right-handed hitting Dozier, who has been scuffling this month.
"We put some righties out there today," Gardenhire said. "I wanted to put Colabello out there because we haven't had much of a chance to see him."
It marked just the second career start for Colabello, who was recalled Wednesday and started that day in right field against Braves left-hander Paul Maholm.
"I'm just going to mix and match as best as I possibly can," Gardenhire said. "When you have two or three guys in the same position it makes it tough. We only have three guys on the bench right now."