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.

Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.

Twins-Royals: Span is back, but Mauer is still out

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: September 12, 2012 - 3:35 PM


When we left the clubhouse late last night, Joe Mauer looked like he was still in some discomfort from back spasms.

And he is not in the lineup today. Drew Butera is behind the plate as P.J. Walters makes his second start since being activated from the disabled list.

As for Mauer, he's played in 35 of the Twins' last 36 games. Some will grumble about him not being able to deal with injuries well. Well, back spasms aren't pleasant to deal with. And also keep in mind that Mauer still has a chance to set a personal-best for plate appearances in a season. His high is 633 in 2008. He's at 569 now.

You can grumble about his lack of power, but he's stayed on the field this season.

Denard Span, by the way, is off the DL and back in the lineup.
Royals (64-77)

1. David Lough, RF
2. Alcides Escobar, SS
3. Alex Gordon, LF
4. Billy Butler, DH
5. Salvador Perez, C
6. Mike Moustakas, 3B
7. Lorenzo Cain, CF
8. Eric Hosmer, 1B
9. Johnny Giavotella, 2B

Pitching: Luke Hochevar, RHP

Twins (59-83)

1. Denard Span, CF
2. Ben Revere, RF
3. Josh Willingham, DH
4. Justin Morneau, 1B
5. Ryan Doumit, LF
6. Jamey Carroll, 3B
7. Alexi Casilla, 2B
8. Drew Butera, C
9. Pedro Florimon, SS

Pitching: P.J. Walters, RHP


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