Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 1/29/12
MINNEAPOLIS New Twins outfielder Josh Willingham has just 11 career at-bats at Target Field, playing three games there last season when the Oakland Athletics came to town. It's a small sample size, to be sure, but Willingham showed in that series that he should have no problem hitting at what has been tabbed as a pitcher's ballpark. Against Minnesota starter Scott Baker on April 10 of the 2011 season, Willingham went deep to left field on a 2-2 count. His solo homer reached the upper deck of Target Field and measured 420 feet, according to hittrackeronline.com. "I think the pitch that he hit out was a ball left out over the middle of the plate," Baker recalled. "You can just look at him and tell he's super strong. He's just a very strong individual. He can put a charge in the ball just as good as anybody." Of Willingham's 29 home runs in 2011, the one he hit at Target Field was his third-longest of the season. Willingham said he doesn't know a ton about his new home park outside of what he experienced in that early-season series. "Obviously you just kind of know what you hear," said the 32-year-old Willingham. "But if anything, it's big. Big in the alleys and big in center, so it's a pitcher's park, I would say. But Oakland was a pitcher's park, probably. Florida, for the most part. Washington played really fair. So we'll swing at 'em and see what happens." With the losses of outfielders Jason Kubel and Michael Cuddyer, who both signed elsewhere as free agents this winter, Minnesota is hoping Willingham can replace some of the power in the lineup. Cuddyer had a team-high 20 homers in 2011, while Kubel had 12 despite playing in just 99 games but hit 20 or more the previous three seasons. The Twins signed Willingham in December to a three-year, 21 million contract. The eight-year veteran has spent time with the Marlins, Nationals and last season with the A's. In 2011, he batted just .246, but had a career year in terms of run production. Both his 29 homers and 98 RBIs were career highs. He also slugged .477 with 26 doubles. Of Willingham's 29 home runs in 2011, all 29 went to left field or left-center. The left field fence at Target Field is 339 feet from home plate with an eight-foot wall, making it much easier to hit one out to left than to right field, where the fence is 328 feet but with a 23-foot wall. The power alleys in left-center and right-center also play long at 377 feet and 367 feet, respectively. In its two-year history, Target Field has not exactly garnered a reputation as a hitter-friendly park. It ranked 20th among all parks in 2011 with a park factor 0.913, meaning it favors pitchers. Still, Willingham said he's never heard other players complain about playing at Target Field. "But you never hear people say, 'Aw, yeah, I want to go to Target Field.' You know what I mean?" Willingham said. "It's a lot like Oakland. When I went to Oakland, it wasn't like you'd hear all the hitters were saying, 'Oh, it's a great place to hit.'" While many of Willingham's home runs travel to left field, Willingham will be in right field this season for the Twins. He's spent most of his career as a left fielder (654 games), with only a handful (34 games) in right field. But with Denard Span set to hold down the starting role in center field -- if he stays healthy after sustaining a concussion last year -- and Ben Revere and Trevor Plouffe likely to platoon in left field, Willingham will make the move across the outfield. "I haven't played there much," Willingham said of right field. "Hopefully this spring I'll just get a lot of reps out there and get comfortable. That's the goal. Playing on the opposite end of the field, it's different, the way the balls come off the bat, so it'll just take a little bit of time to get used to." It may take a few games, but the veteran Willingham shouldn't have much time getting comfortable in right field. And if his performance at Target Field was any indication, Willingham should be comfortable hitting in his new home park as well. "I can almost guarantee you that his BP display's pretty amazing, just how strong he is," Baker said. "It's going to be nice. He made Target Field hitter-friendly, in my opinion." Follow Tyler Mason on Twitter @FSNtylermason.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Cubs trade for Chapman a risk, but potential payoff too hard to ignore

White Sox fan wears a fantastic taped-up Chris Sale jersey

Wisconsin kicker will wear 27 to honor Nebraska's Sam Foltz

Dennis Schroder wears disguise to play in German streetball tournament

Browns indicate they will give Josh Gordon another chance


Prince Fielder to undergo season-ending neck surgery

Eagles want Carson Wentz to be 'starter ready' Week 1

Report: 49ers concerned Anthony Davis will quit again

Did Manning hurt NFLPA's case in HGH investigations?

Report: Steinbrenner won't allow fire sale, wants to make playoffs

Report: Dion Waiters agrees to one-year deal with Heat

Dion Waiters' deal signals the end of the 2016 money grab

Tom Jackson could leave ESPN after almost three decades

Cavs sign coach Tyronn Lue to a five-year extension

More than 10,000 people registered for Jaguars Pokemon Go night

NFL issues new concussion protocol

Angels listening to offers on Hector Santiago

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

Kevin Durant’s OKC restaurant will be closed, rebranded

Lamar Odom said to be held back by one 'toxic friend'

Mario Balotelli crashes Liverpool fans' wedding

Michael Vick: I used to feel I was 'dominating too much'

WATCH: Astros, Rangers minor leaguers get into brawl

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

QUIZ: Name every city to host the NBA All-Star Game

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker