The Twins have turned the page on Triple-A outfielder Joe Benson.

Benson, who came to spring training with a chance to win the starting job in center field, was lost on outright release waivers to the Texas Rangers.

The Twins needed to create a 40-man roster spot in order to make room for right-hander P.J. Walters, promoted from Triple-A Rochester to start Saturday's game against the Detroit Tigers. Previously this week, they moved outfielder Darin Mastroianni and reliever Tim Wood to the 60-day disabled list.

"We were hoping he'd clear, but maybe this is a new lease on life for Joe," Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said. "Joe's been struggling. We thought if he was ever going to pass through, this might be the time."

Benson, 25, was a second-round draft (64th overall) in 2006 out of Joliet Catholic Academy. In 2010 he won the Sherry Robertson Award as Twins Minor League Player of the Year, and he played 21 games with the Twins in 2011 as a September call-up.

"Everyone's made a big investment," Antony said. "Our player-development people have worked hard with him. He's been around. Everyone's gotten to know him. He's done some good things, and we expected big things of him. He's just really struggled the last couple of years."

Billed as a five-tool player, Benson's hitting never quite caught up with the other facets of his game.

"Been waiting for that fifth tool," Antony said. "When he's clicking and doing all those things,

he's a pretty good player as he showed a few years ago."
Benson had been plagued by knee and wrist injuries in recent years, but he was healthy of late, Antony said. However, Benson hit just .192 with a .256 on-base percentage in 151 at-bats for Rochester this season.