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.

Florimon claimed off waivers by Washington

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: September 18, 2014 - 2:16 PM

The Pedro Florimon era is officially over.

The slick-fielding, feeble-hitting shortstop was claimed off of waivers on Thursday by the Washington Nationals. Florimon was the Twins' Opening Day shortstop but was sent to Class AAA Rochester after batting  .108 in 25 games. He did return for two weeks in June because of injuries.

Florimon batted .257 in 83 games for Rochester.

Three Twins postgame thoughts from LEN3: Gibson, Price, Miggy

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: September 17, 2014 - 11:57 PM

Here are three thoughts following the Twins' 8-4 win over Tigers

TURNAROUND FOR GIBSON: Kyle Gibson made have had the defining moment of his season on Wednesday. He looked awful through two innings and probably would have been yanked in another circumstance, but...``We needed innings,'' Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. ``We needed him to pitch. You can't just have two (crappy) innings and say, `that's enough.' We need him to pitch. This young man is going to be one of our pitchers. And we needed him to go back out and pitch.'' And Gibson did just that, putting up four scoreless innings to get through the sixth. Heck, he outlasted David Price, who was yanked after 5.2 innings. Strategy-wise. Gibson said Suzuki discovered that Tigers hitters weren't respecting his fastball, so when he called for fastballs, Gibson threw sinkers and focused on hitting both edges of the plate with something with more movement. And it worked.

PRESSURE ON PRICE: The Twins offense generated eight runs on six extra base hits - four doubles and two triples. But their at-bats against David Price were pretty good, as the lefthander had to throw 112 pitches to get through 5.2 innings. One key at-bat: Jordan Schafer's 10-pitch at-bat in the fourth. It resulted in a pop out, but Schafer forced Price to throw everything he had and played into him faltering in the sixth, when the Twins started to wail on him. ``That takes a lot out of a pitcher when they have to keep winging it in there,'' Gardenhire said. ``You look up and Price has 90 pitches after four or five innings. That's hard to do.''

MIGGY: Miguel Cabrera flied out to the wall in left to end the game. But he had two singles and two doubles in his first four at-bats as his September pitching bashing continues. In 16 games this month, Cabrera is batting .469 with 15 runs scored 6 home runs and 12 RBI. Good grief.


Twins-Tigers: The ninth inning should be interesting, if...

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: September 17, 2014 - 5:43 PM

Twins closer Glen Perkins will be evaluated by Twins doctors sometime before game time after he gave up another home run and showed decreased velocity on Tuesday against the Tigers.

Perkins did miss a couple days with a sore neck recently, so one thought is that he's been trying to pitch with lingering soreness. He did tell the coaching staff that he didn't feel good after Wednesday's outing.

The ninth inning, should the Twins have lead at the time, will be interesting.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said Michael Tonkin, Lester Oliveros and Jared Burton are the closing candidates in the bullpen. The guess here that he could go with the veteran Burton against an experienced lineup like Detroit's. But anything is possible.

Reliever Casey Fien appeared in 73 games last season and is at 71 this year. The coaching staff feels the setup man might be running out of gas. So they plan to keep him out of action today and possibly tomorrow.

Infielder Eduardo Escobar has a jammed shoulder and is day-to-day. This would have been a chance for Santana to start at short, but Gardenhire wanted Eduardo Nunez, who has a .290 career average against David Price, to start there.

Oswaldo Arcia took some swings in the batting cage and said his back feels better. He should return to the lineup on Friday.

Tigers lefty David Price is 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA this season against the Twins.

Tigers (84-67)

Ian Kinsler, 2B
V-Mart, DH
J.D. Martinez, LF
Nick Castellanos, 3B
Bryan Holaday, C
Austin Romine, SS
Rajai Davis, CF

David Price, LHP


Danny Santana, CF
Brian Dozier, 2B
Joe Mauer, 1B
Kennys Vargas, DH
Trevor Plouffe, 3B
Kurt Suzuki, C
Eduardo Nunez, SS
Aaron Hicks, RF
Jordan Schafer, LF

Kyle Gibson, RHP

Deal done. Twins' new Class AA affiliate is in Chattanooga

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: September 17, 2014 - 1:33 PM

A press conference is about to start in Chattanooga, Tenn., where the Twins are signing a four-year player development contract with the Lookouts.

The Twins are leaving New Britain, Conn., after 20 seasons. The Dodgers are moving on from Chattanooga, creating a vacancy there. The Twins will be the first AL team there since Seattle in 1987.

Chattanooga used to be an affiliate of the Washington Senators. Harmon Killebrew played there in 1957 and 1958.

Twins expected to move Class AA team to Chattanooga

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: September 17, 2014 - 9:15 AM

Indications are that the Twins are closing in on a player development contact with Chattanooga, Tenn, of the Southern League. A deal should be announced today.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press is reporting that Twins officials arrived in town last night for a tour of AT&T Field. The Lookouts were previously affiliated with the Dodgers.

After 20 seasons, the Twins ended their relationship with New Britain of the Eastern League.


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