La Velle E. Neal III has covered baseball for the Star Tribune since 1998 (the post-Knoblauch era). Born and raised in Chicago, he grew up following the White Sox and hating the Cubs. He attended both the University of Illinois and Illinois-Chicago and began his baseball writing career at the Kansas City Star. He can be heard occasionally on KFAN radio, lending his great baseball mind to Paul Allen and other hosts. Mark Rosen borrows him occasionally for WCCO-TV.

Three Twins postgame thoughts from LEN3: Twilight, Perez, Mauer

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: September 11, 2012 - 11:50 PM

Three quick thoughts after the Twins' 83rd loss of the season.

1. A Metrodome moment in Target Field: Josh Willingham lost a fly ball to left in the second inning that led to two runs. We thought it was because of the lights but he said it was the time of day. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire backed him on that one."Losing a ball -- what are you going to do about that, when he hit the ball, I think I lost it, too." Willingham struck the pose many of us used to see in the Dome. Hands spread out, looking for the ball and watching it drop behind/

2. Nice looking young catcher: Salvador Perez looks like a keeper. He's 22, has a strong arm and is figuring things out offensively. Gardenhire said before the game that runners can still steal bases off him of the pitcher isn't keeping him close to the bag - but added that Royals pitchers do a good job of keeping baserunners honest. Well, the Twins tried to steal a couple times and it didn't work. All it did was allow Perez to show off the cannon he has. He got rid of the ball so fast when Darin Mastroianni tried to steal third  - then put it right where third baseman Mike Moustakas could drop the tag on him. Perez could be a thorn in the Twins' sides for years. "He can hit and he can throw as you all saw," Gardenhire said. "He has quick feet behind the plate. He has a really quick release, and he can throw from all angles. The submariner, I don’t know if Mastroianni was out or safe, but it was pretty impressive to be able to throw that ball sidearm to third base like he did, he’s an impressive young man." Oh, I forgot to mention that he has a 15-game hitting streak and has thrown out 11 of the last 21 runners attempting to steal. Stud puppy.

3. Mauer's back. Back spasms stink, and Joe Mauer was not moving well after the game. Mauer hoped that treatment at the park - and muscle relaxers - will help him recover in time to play on Wednesday. He's never had back spasms before, so he doesn't know what to expect. "I'm in a lot of pain right now, but it's calmed down from earlier today," he said. "It's feeling a little bit better." It's all up to the drugs, now. I once spent three hours in the hospital one night because of back spasms while on a bus ride from Chattanooga, Tenn. to Atlanta. The drugs were great, and I was fine the next day. 

 

 

 
 

 

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