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.

Space cleared for Thome?

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: February 1, 2010 - 2:20 PM

Various reports have the Oakland A's claiming infielder Steven Tolleson off waivers from the Twins, which should pave the way for the Twins to officially announce the signing of free agent slugger Jim Thome.

Tolleson, 26, hit .258 in 38 games at Class AA New Britain then .270-6-27 in 92 games at Class AAA Rochester (.713 OPS). He was drafted as an infielder but the Twins grew so concerned about his glovework that they began to use him in the outfield last season.

The move clears a space on the Twins' 40-man roster that they needed to add Thome.

Have calls out on Orlando Hudson developments. There's a fan under my desk to fan the flames if necessary. There's also a bucket of water to douse any hot rumors that don't hold up. Stay tuned,

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