Staff Directory 10645506

La Velle E. Neal III

Reporter | Minnesota Twins
Phone: 612.674.4888
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: None

La Velle E. Neal III is a baseball writer for the Star Tribune. He has over 20 years of experience covering the Minnesota Twins on and off the field. La Velle has helped out with basketball, football and college football coverage between baseball seasons.

A native of Chicago, La Velle has covered the Minnesota Twins since 1998. He also covered the Kansas City Royals for the Kansas City Star from 1995 through 1997. A graduate of the University of Illinois - Chicago, La Velle is a former president of the Baseball Writers Association of America.
Recent content from La Velle E. Neal III
Martin Perez

New lefty Perez will compete for spot in Twins' starting rotation

Martin Perez potentially adds a lefthander to a rotation that also includes righthanders Jose Berrios, Kyle Gibson, Jake Odorizzi and Michael Pineda.
Martin Perez

Twins agree to deal with former Rangers lefthanded pitcher Perez

Perez, 27, has pitched the past seven seasons for the Texas Rangers. He was a starter in 128 of his 141 appearances, going 43-49 with a 4.67 ERA.
Lovable catcher/utility player Willians Astudillo made a lot fans last season in his late call-up by the Twins.

Opinions differ on fan-favorite Astudillo making Twins roster

North Score: Twins beat reporter La Velle E. Neal III and Michael Rand take a look at the case to be made for Willians Astudillo to make the Twins' roster out of spring training.
Miguel Sano

Sano in Dominican playoffs, will miss Caravan and TwinsFest

The slugging third baseman is playing for Estrellas de Oriente in the nine-game series.
Jake Cave was all smiles after hitting a home run in September, and this week tried Spam for the first time at the home of the product in Austin, Minn

Canned answers: Cave, Austin hear from Twins fans in the home of Spam

A Twins Winter Caravan stop in Austin, Minn., on Wednesday meant time for players to talk baseball - and canned meats.

Reliever Blake Parker's deal with Twins includes up to additional $1.4 million for staying healthy

The Twins finalized their deal with Blake Parker on Monday and, to make room on their 40-man roster, designated for reassignment fellow righthanded reliever…
Players who agreed to terms with the Twins include Eddie Rosario and Miguel Sano (top); Jake Odorizzi and Kyle Gibson (bottom)

Twins make deals with Sano, Gibson, other arbitration-eligible players

Starters Jake Odorizzi and Kyle Gibson will get hefty raises, as will Eddie Rosario and Miguel Sano.
Byron Buxton

Buxton to avoid arbitration, sign $1.7 million deal with Twins

Twins center fielder Byron Buxton gets a raise of more than $1 million from his frustrating 2018.
Twins' Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey right, and Senior Vice President, General Manager Thad Levine

Twins plan: Let free-agent market evolve before making more moves

Baseball's winter meetings came and went without the Twins making a move. Team officials believe conversations they had with agents and teams will pay off later
Reports said the Twins had interest in free-agent designated hitter Nelson Cruz, formerly of the Mariners.

Winter Meetings Confidential: Twins court Cruz, but could fill DH role from within

The Twins were interested in Nelson Cruz as a DH, and a report Tuesday claimed Cruz was choosing between the Twins and Rays
Cody Allen

Looking for relief: Twins checking out Cody Allen, Andrew Miller

The Twins have more interest in Allen than Miller, both of whom have been with Cleveland, according to a source with knowledge of the team's search.
Fernando Romero

Twins think Romero has 'mentality' to be their closer

"I don't think he's scared of [anything] whether he's pitching the first or the ninth," Derek Falvey said about young pitcher Fernando Romero.
Reports said the Twins had interest in free-agent designated hitter Nelson Cruz, formerly of the Mariners.

Twins downplay rumored interest in free agents

The Twins aggressively shot down rumors Monday about their level of interest in a few free agents, such as slugger Nelson Cruz
Twins third baseman Miguel Sano had some lingering soreness this offseason from an injury he suffered in September.

Watching closely: Video helping Twins track Sano's progress

Twins Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey has been able to watch videos of Miguel Sano's workouts instead of relying on written reports and conference calls.
Cody Allen was Cleveland's primary closer last season and could be a good fit for the Twins as a free agent this offseason.

Twins aren't expected to roll the dice in Vegas at winter meetings

The Twins have indicated that next season will be about allowing their young core to continue to develop. So they won't be in the Manny Machado and Bryce Harper free-agent sweepstakes.
Twins manager Rocoo Baldelli at his introductory news conference with Derek Falvey, left, and Thad Levine.

Twins' to-do list at baseball's winter meetings

Twins beat reporter La Velle E. Neal III breaks down what the club needs to do during the winter meetings.
Twins cut ties with Grossman, will sign Cron for $4.8 million

Twins cut ties with Grossman, will sign Cron for $4.8 million

Grossman, a veteran outfielder, was not tendered a contract offer at the Friday deadline.
The Twins added infielders Nick Gordon (pictured) and Luis Arraez and outfielder LaMonte Wade to their 40-man roster Tuesday. Gordon, 23, was the Twin

Twins add Gordon, Arraez and Wade to 40-man roster

The Twins have 38 players on their 40-man roster, which gives them flexibility to add a player through a trade, free agency or the Rule 5 draft scheduled for Dec. 12.
Paul Molitor

Former manager Paul Molitor still pondering staying with Twins

Joe Mauer's news conference brought three former skippers and two ex-general managers back to Target Field.
Minnesota Twins' Brian Dozier congratulates teammate Joe Mauer after Mauer scored on a single by Eddie Rosario in July. Mauer retired on Friday.

'He's the man': Mauer's ex-teammates remember a role model

Joe Mauer made history by becoming the only catcher in major league history to win three batting titles.
Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey, right, and General Manager Thad Levine are turning their attention to the Twins’ roster as the GM and winter me

Who is available in free agency to help Twins?

Free agency will be used to supplement the core roster, Derek Falvey said.
Eddie Guardado (left) is among the five coaches let go by the Twins.

Under construction: Twins fire five coaches, Baldelli seeks new look

Rocco Baldelli, at his introductory news conference, spoke of the importance of having coaches from different backgrounds -- and this was the first step.

Names to consider for Twins manager

Derek Falvey and Thad Levine likely will end up with a surprise choice as the next Twins manager. In the past two years, they have added virtual unknowns to the team's coaching staff.
New Twins manager Rocco Baldelli was introduced to the media Thursday afternoon at Target Field.

Twins' Baldelli rolling up his sleeves as he dives into first managerial role

After winning the news conference on Thursday, it's time for Rocco Baldelli to see what he can do for a Twins team with lots of issues.
Rocco Baldelli

Baldelli set to be next Twins manager

Bench coach Derek Shelton is out of contention to replace the fired Paul Molitor. An announcement on a new manager could come today.
Rocco Baldelli

Baldelli has second interview for Twins manager's job

The former Tampa Bay outfielder has been in the Rays organization as a coach and coordinator since retiring as a player in 2010.
Hensley Meulens

Hensley Meulens interviewing for Twins' manager job today

The San Francisco bench coach has been with the Giants for nine years and was promoted to bench coach in 2018.
Despite being in better shape last year, Miguel Sano struck out 115 times in 299 plate appearances and hit only .199.

Sano, Twins to keep in touch during offseason as he tries to get in shape

The team plans to touch base with the third baseman every 7-10 days.
Minnesota Twins Joe Mauer was greeted by teammates after catching one pitch in the ninth inning. ] CARLOS GONZALEZ � � S

New Twins manager and Mauer's decision: The wait continues

There is not a firm timetable to replace manager Paul Molitor, but there will be interviews in the next week. "We're looking for someone who is truly open-minded," Derek Falvey said.
Joe Mauer played his final game — possibly — on Sept. 30.

New Twins manager and Mauer's decision: The wait continues

There is not a firm timetable to replace manager Paul Molitor, but there will be interviews in the next week. "We're looking for someone who is truly open-minded," Derek Falvey said.
Will Tyler Austin (31) be Joe Mauer's successor at first base for the Twins? He batted .236 with nine homers and 24 RBI in 35 games after joining the

If not Mauer, then who plays first base for the Twins?

As Joe Mauer contemplates ending a 15-year career, we're all left contemplating something else.
Minnesota Twins hitting coach James Rowson, right

Twins hitting coach Rowson interviews for manager job

James Rowson interviewed for the club's vacant managerial position Friday, and the club also has interest in bringing in ex-major leaguers Mark DeRosa and David Ross to discuss the position.
Four of the people who could be candidates to replace Paul Molitor are (clockwise from top left): Cleveland first base coach Sandy Alomar Jr., Houston

Who's next? Thirteen names to watch for the Twins managing job

Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have said it'll take several weeks for them to hire a replacement for fired manager Paul Molitor. Here are some names they could be pondering.
Joe Mauer and Paul Molitor - both Cretin-Derham Hall graduates - exchanged pleasantries in 2001 after Mauer was drafted by the Twins. Now Molitor is o

Mauer 'surprised' by Molitor's firing, will be a factor in his future plans

How does Paul Molitor's firing affect the return of one of his longtime confidants in bullpen coach Eddie Guardado — as well as fellow Cretin-Derham Hall alum Joe Mauer?

Twins fire strength and conditioning coach Castellano, make other changes

The Twins on Tuesday made sweeping changes to their performance staff, including the dismissal of strength and conditioning coordinator Perry Castellano.
Twins pitcher Kyle Gibson

Gibson finishes season strong in 8-3 Twins victory over White Sox

After posting a 5.07 ERA in each of this previous two seasons, Kyle Gibson's mark of 3.62 is the lowest of his career.
The Twins' Joe Mauer hits against the Tigers in the sixth inning Wednesday.

Molitor plans to play Mauer 'as much as we can' this week

"I'd like to play every one of them," Joe Mauer said of the season's final games, which includes a Friday doubleheader against the White Sox.
Twins left fielder Johnny Field makes a sliding catch of a fly ball off the bat of the Tigers' JaCoby Jones during the fifth inning Wednesday.

After career win No. 300, Molitor makes it clear he wants to return

Paul Molitor reached a milestone Wednesday night with the Twins' 11-4 victory over Detroit and said he doesn't "have any doubts" he wants to manage the team in 2019.
Twins third baseman Ehire Adrianza tagged out a leaping JaCoby Jones in the third inning, after Adrianza took a throw from pitcher Kohl Stewart follow

Hildenberger's September struggles continue as Twins fall to Detroit

Hildenberger gave up three hits and walk in the eighth, including RBI singles by Nick Castellanos and Niko Goodrum.
The Minnesota Twins' Joe Mauer is congratulated after breaking Harmon Killebrew's on-base record against Detroit on Tuesday.

Mauer breaks Killebrew's on-base record during Twins loss to Tigers

The final week of Joe Mauer's season has begun, and it started with a not-so-random act of Mauerness.
Robbie Grossman

Will Grossman be back with Twins? 'Whatever happens, happens'

The Twins roster is expected to look different next year as they restructure following a season of failed expectations. That makes Robbie Grossman's status for 2019 uncertain.
Ehire Adrianza hit a two-run single off Kansas City Royals pitcher Heath Fillmyer earlier this month.

Ehire Adrianza's first lefty-lefty hit is a double

Ehire Adrianza's 19th double of the season Wednesday might have been his most impressive.
Stephen Gonsalves gave up one hit in six scoreless innings Wednesday in Detroit.

Gonsalves gets first victory as Twins blitz Tigers 8-2 for sweep

Stephen Gonsalves entered in the second inning and picked up his first major league victory, throwing six innings of one-hit baseball.
With the help of manager Paul Molitor and head trainer Tony Leo, Twins left fielder Eddie Rosario came off the field in the fourth inning of Monday ni

Eddie Rosario's season might be over for Twins

The left fielder aggravated a calf injury Monday in Detroit and the team won't push him.
Twins manager Paul Molitor took the ball from pitcher Jake Odorizzi during the seventh inning Tuesday. Odorizzi threw six shutout innings before givin

Jake Odorizzi strong again as Twins top Tigers 5-3 for third consecutive victory

The righthander had his second consecutive impressive start, while Miguel Sano went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts in his return.
Monday’s umpires (Jordan Baker, Jerry Layne, Chris Segal and Greg Gibson) posed with Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire and his son, Twins minor league m

Gardenhires are in opposite dugouts with Twins visiting Detroit

It's a family feud of sorts, as Toby Gardenhire gets a chance to face off with his father this week.
Eddie Rosario tried to pick himself off the ground in left field as Jake Cave waited for the training staff to arrive in the fourth inning of the Twin

Kohl Stewart shines, Eddie Rosario injured as Twins beat Detroit 6-1

Eddie Rosario homered in the first inning but had to leave after reinjuring his quadriceps in the fourth.

Concussion diagnosis takes out Mitch Garver

KANSAS CITY, MO – Mitch Garver exercised on an elliptical machine for about 10 minutes on Saturday afternoon, but there wasn't much more planned…
Twins catcher Mitch Garver was hit by a foul ball in the second inning against the Yankees at Target Field on Wednesday

Garver showing no signs of concussion

Twins catcher Mitch Garver took a Luke Voit foul ball of his mask on Wednesday and was not in the lineup Thursday as a precaution.
Miguel Sano grimaced as he was helped onto a cart last week after injuring his left leg sliding into second base. Sano hasn't played since.

Twins face uncertainty over Sano's return from left leg injury

After initially expressing hope Miguel Sano could return to the lineup from a lower left leg injury in a couple of days, the Twins have taken a more cautious approach. He has missed five games.
Byron Buxton was not called up after the Class AAA season, a decision that was met with plenty of skepticism.

Twins try to clear the air with Byron Buxton

Conversations between Twins officials and Byron Buxton were described as positive, and they have been able to explain to Buxton that he remains part of their long-term plans.
Niko Guardado has earned several sitcom roles, including on “The Goldbergs,” and now has a part in “A-X-L,” his first major film.

Former Twins star Guardado has son who's also a star — on silver screen

Eddie Guardado's son, Niko, found his calling in acting, not baseball.
The Astros’ Brian McCann, left, helped Evan Gattis celebrate his two-run homer in the fourth inning Wednesday night. Twins catcher Mitch Garver, bac

Bregman, Astros riddle Twins again for series sweep

Alex Bregman kept up his current hit streak on Wednesday, crushing a two-run home run as part of a 9-1 victory over the Twins.
Twins designated hitter Miguel Sano gets a pat on the back from Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa as he is taken off the field after an injury on

Sano carted off with leg bruise as Twins' 'opener' strategy fails again

Miguel Sano suffered a left leg bruise sliding into second base early in Tuesday night's loss at Houston, in which Trevor May allowed four first-inning runs.
Ryan Pressly, who was traded from the Twins to Houston in late July, has bolstered the Astros' bullpen.

Ex-Twin Pressly admires Astros' approach

Since joining Houston in late July, Ryan Pressly has been part of the bridge to the ninth inning, using his 96-miles-per-hour fastball and his breaking ball to shut down opponents.
Houston Astros' Alex Bregman, right, celebrated his solo home run off Twins starter Kyle Gibson with third base coach Gary Pettis during the first inn

Gibson makes few but costly mistakes in Twins' 4-1 loss to Astros

Gibson allowed two solo homers in the first four innings, which was enough offense for Houston.
Gabriel Moya was the Twins' "opener," as opposed to starter, for Sunday's game against the Rangers. He only pitched one inning, as the Twins joined se

Twins see rules evolving as more relievers start games

Twins see rules evolving as more relievers start.
Nick Anderson, a Twins pitching prospect from Crosby at Class AAA Rochester, had to clean up his act to earn a chance to pitch in the major leagues. H

Minnesotan on cusp of joining Twins after putting troubles behind him

Nick Anderson, a Twins pitching prospect from Crosby at Class AAA Rochester, had to clean up his act.
The underlying aspect of the decision to not bring Byron Buxton up to the Twins is that Buxton is 13 days shy of qualifying for another full season of

Twins ready to hit reset button on Buxton ... but for 2019

The underlying aspect of the decision is that Byron Buxton is 13 days shy of qualifying for another full season of major league service time. Instead of him becoming a free agent after the 2021 season, it will be pushed back to 2022.
Lefthander Gabriel Moya was the "opener," instead of the starter, for the Twins against the Rangers on Sunday. He pitched one inning, giving up two ru

Twins use seven pitchers, including a catcher, in an 18-4 rout by Rangers

Chris Gimenez was the last of a series of ineffective Minnesota players to take the mound.
The Rangers' Rougned Odor (12) congratulated Ronald Guzman (67) after Guzman's three-run home run against the Twins during the second inning.

Berrios suffers another short start in Twins loss to Texas

Jose Berrios posted his fifth consecutive short start on Saturday, leaving in the fourth inning of the Twins 7-4 loss to the Rangers after just four innings during which he gave up three of the Rangers four home runs.
Jake Cave hit a two-run home run against the Rangers as part of a big fifth inning.

Twins dig their way out of hole vs. Rangers with eight-run inning

The first five Twins batters of the fifth inning reached base, and they took control from there in a 10-7 victory to open a weekend series with the Rangers.

Twins notes: Jorge Polanco returns to lineup, but Twins keep Eddie Rosario out

ARLINGTON, TEXAS – While Twins shortstop Jorge Polanco returned to the lineup on Friday after missing all three games in Cleveland because of cramping…
Twins starter Jose Berrios felt ill Sunday, but did what he could with what he had before leaving the game down 3-1 to Oakland after five innings.

No relief: Oakland pounds Magill after ill Berrios leaves 6-2 loss

Tyler Austin hit two home runs for the Twins. But reliever Matt Magill gave up three homers in 24 pitches after Jose Berrios struggled through five innings.
Thrust into the lead role when Jason Castro was injured, Mitch Garver admits he had some early season doubts when taking over as the main Twins catche

Garver feels more comfortable as regular Twins catcher

Thrust into the lead role when Jason Castro was injured, Garver admits he had some early season doubts.
Tyler Austin rounded the bases two more times Sunday, giving him six home runs in 12 games since joining the Twins.

Newly acquired Austin continues to flex muscle for Twins

Tyler Austin hit two home runs in a 6-2 loss to Oakland at Target Field on Sunday, including one that landed in the restaurant Catch well beyond center field in the fourth inning.
Taylor Rogers (55) of the Twins could be a closer … or an “opener” … in September.

Will Twins' closers become 'openers' in September?

The organization's minor league teams have experimented with using relievers to start games, with limited success.
Twins starter Stephen Gonsalves, making his major league debut against the White Sox, headed to the dugout after pitching only 1⅓ innings Monday nig

Best thing about rookie Gonsalves' Twins debut: It's over

Left-hander Stephen Gonsalves admitted to a case of nerves before and during Monday's 8-5 loss to the White Sox. He was knocked out in the second inning.
Twins reliever Trevor Hildenberger has finished the past five games he has appeared in, going 1-1 with three saves.

Reliever Hildenberger adjusts following a run of home runs

Trevor Hildenberger is, outing by outing, distancing himself from a rough stretch in which he gave up home runs in four consecutive appearances.
Jorge Polanco, left, congratulated Logan Forsythe, who had five hits in the Twins' 15-8 crushing of the Tigers at Target Field on Thursday night.

Forsythe's 5-for-5, homers by Polanco, Sano lead 15-run assault on Tigers

The Twins knocked out Francisco Liriano with eight runs in the first two innings and then broke open a one-run game with a huge sixth inning.
The Twins, in the coming weeks, plan to keep moving their outfielders such as Max Kepler around so they will be prepared for any situation.

Twins moving their outfielders about — because chance exists

The Twins, in the coming weeks, plan to keep moving their outfielders around so they will be prepared for any situation.
The Twins know Tyler Austin has plenty of power in his 6-2 inch, 220-pound frame — and they hope to get more of it out of him.

Ex-Yankee Austin hopes to add power to Twins lineup

The Twins know there's plenty of power in Tyler Austin's 6-2, 220-pound frame — and they hope to get more of it out of him.
Former No. 1 pick Kohl Stewart was pulled in the fifth inning of his debut. He allowed three runs.

Stewart has mixed results in debut as Twins lose to Tigers

Kohl Stewart's major league debut in Detroit was going fine until the fifth inning, when he lost one long battle and then lost his focus.
Minnesota Twins' Logan Forsythe pine tars his bat during the first inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018, in D

'Utility hitter' Forsythe adds versatility to Twins lineup

In just 11 games with the Twins, second baseman Logan Forsythe has batted in six different spots ion the Twins' batting order.
Twins relief pitcher Trevor Hildenberger is hugged by catcher Bobby Wilson after his first save of the year

Home run allowed tarnishes Hildenberger's save

Trevor Hildenberger allowed two hits - including a home run, but got the next three outs for his second major league save in the same yard he got his first last season: Comerica Park.
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