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Willingham's injury raises key questions for struggling Twins

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Twins left fielder Josh Willingham is out 4-6 weeks to repair his left knee and recover from a bone bruise. He's not expected to return to the lineup until mid-August.

While a bad knee might explain his offensive output this year, there are some who say the Twins might not miss his .224 batting average. Others would point out that he still has 10 homers and 37 RBIs so far.

Mike Berardino from the St. Paul Pioneer Press writes that without the Hammer, the Twins are now just one of two teams in the major leagues without a player with 10 home runs or more.

Despite the numbers talk, some say the silver lining here is that with Willingham out, it might finally give Chris Parmelee consistent playing time he needs to see if he's an actual major leaguer or not.

An everyday presence did wonders for Michael Cuddyer a few years back, as he developed into one of the best right fielders in the American League.

In fact, wasn't Willingham the player that replaced Cuddyer last year? He sure was, which has Yahoo!Sports columnist Chris Chad wondering if the Twins are still satisfied with letting Cuddyer escape to the Rockies.

And then there's the July 31 trade talk. With the Hammer gone, some contend it leaves Minnesota without a major trading chip.

Pioneer Press columnist Tom Powers is convinced that "a healthy Willingham, signed through next year, could have brought a good young player or two in a trade."

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