Joe Benson twice rushed for more than 300 yards in a prep football game -- his career high is 366 -- and colleges wanted him badly as a running back. But baseball was his longtime love, having played it since he was 4 years old.

"I knew I couldn't give up baseball," he said. "It was kind of give and take. I thought with football, my body would get a little banged up."

He then chuckled while adding, "but it looks like baseball has kind of returned the favor."

Benson can laugh now. Last year, it probably wasn't wise to be around him. Benson's 2012 season was one long, frustrating rehab session as he was limited to 76 games at four different levels. A slow start and two surgeries factored into a .202 batting average, six homers and 36 RBI that made him resemble a nonprospect.

And yet, he's in major league camp with a chance to go north with the Twins as their starting center fielder.

What a sport.

"It's really unbelievable," Benson said. "Especially going from two surgeries, one to end the season. Especially with the numbers I had by my name at the end of the year."