Staff Directory 10645506

La Velle E. Neal III

Reporter | Minnesota Twins
phone: 612.674.4888
La Velle E. Neal III has covered Major League Baseball for the Star Tribune since 1998 (the post-Knoblauch era). Born and raised in Chicago, 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 Dan Barreiro during the season.
Recent content from La Velle E. Neal III
Taylor Motter

Twins recall Motter from Rochester to replace Fernando Romero

KANSAS CITY, MO. – The Twins have recalled utility player Taylor Motter from Class AAA Rochester. He will take the spot of pitcher Fernando…
Miguel Sano

Sano expected to rejoin Twins' minor-league team in a few days

The Twins understand Miguel Sano's situation, and also considered that it is All-Star week and he has not had a break yet.
Alex Bregman of the Astros hit a solo home run during the All-Star game on Tuesday night. It was one of 10 hit in the game, a record.

Power of 10: Teams combine for record HRs in AL's All-Star Game win

Back-to-back home runs by Houston's George Springer and Alex Bregman in the 10th inning capped a wild All-Star game in Washington, won 8-6 by the visiting American League.
Tony Clark, executive director of the Major League Players Association

MLBPA's Clark, Manfred differ on upcoming issues

Free agency and the use of the designated hitter in the National League were hot topics during All-Star festivities in Washington.
Jose Berrios ran during a workout in Florida at spring training. “It’s my job,” he said. “I take pride in coming in here every day, work hard

Punishing workouts, preparation and more make Berrios an All-Star

Those who know Jose Berrios say he carries himself as if he knows he's good — but he backs it up with work he does behind the scenes. That intersection of talent and sweat that has his career ascending.
Chaska High School product Brad Hand is again the subject of trade rumors after another strong season in the Padres bullpen.

Chaska's Brad Hand doesn't mind missing sleep to be All-Star

The Padres lefthander is getting to appear at his second consecutive All-Star Game, and has a group of friends and family along for the trip.
Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor, right, embraced Cubs catcher Willson Contreras during Monday’s batting practice before the All-Star Home Run Der

Indians have comfortable lead over Twins but taking nothing for granted

Cleveland struggled a bit going into the break but still enjoys a comfortable lead in the AL Central.
United States manager Torii Hunter celebrated with his team after the All-Star Futures baseball game against the World on Sunday.

Torii's Team USA wins Minnesota-themed Futures Game

Top minor-league prospect Alex Kiriloff had two hits while former Twins Torii Hunter and David Ortiz managed the USA and World teams.
Jorge Polanco slides into third base with a triple against the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday

Twins victory over Rays builds on good home vibe

Joe Mauer had four RBI and the Twins on Friday night jumped to an 8-1 advantage, but Tampa Bay wasn't going away quietly.
Buxton

Extent of Byron Buxton's wrist injury being evaluated

X-rays of Byron Buxton's left wrist Friday were negative, but the center fielder was not considered in the clear yet after being injured Thursday…
Minnesota Twins outfielder Jake Cave, left, and Jorge Polanco celebrate after the Twins beat the Kansas City Royals 8-5 in a baseball game Wednesday,

Current question: Can Twins keep winning when competition gets better?

The Twins beat Kansas City 8-5 for their sixth victory in seven games against baseball's two worst teams, which have a combined record of 52-133 so far this season.
Twins relief pitcher Addison Reed

Twins reliever Reed headed for 10-day DL with tendinitis

Twins officials said the timing is right, with the upcoming All-Star break, for Addison Reed to get healthy.
The Twins’ Jose Berrios, 24, was named to his first All-Star team Sunday. He is 8-7 with a 3.54 ERA this season heading into Monday’s start agains

Berrios named to All-Star Game; Rosario among 5 in vote for final spot

Jose Berrios was just starting to plan for the four days off that come during the All-Star break when he found out that he wouldn't be getting the time off.
The Twins' Mitch Garver rounded the bases and slapped hands with third base coach Gene Glynn on a two-run home run off Orioles pitcher Alex Cobb in th

Eight-run inning boosts Twins to sweep of awful Orioles

As much as the Twins have struggled this season, their woes are no match for Baltimore, which dropped all four games at Target Field and fell to 41 games below .500.
Robbed of a hit in his first at-bat, Twins catcher Mitch Garver hit a two-run homer in his second Sunday.

Twins' Garver swinging a hot bat

Mitch Garver, who is splitting time with Bobby Wilson behind the plate, is batting .542 (13-for-24) since June 21, raising his average 50 points to .268.
Brian Dozier is in the final season of his contract with the Twins, and could be trade bait.

With Twins selling, will trade speculation disrupt clubhouse in July?

With the Twins struggling to stay in contention, there might be some moves made before the July 31 trade deadline.
From left, Twins outfielders Eddie Rosario, Jake Cave and Max Kepler celebrated the team’s third victory in a row following a 1-8 road trip.

Wilson! Backup catcher leads Twins to third win in a row over Baltimore

Backup catcher Bobby Wilson drove in three runs and Max Kepler homered for a second consecutive day as the Twins won 5-4 over the Orioles.
Max Kepler hits his 10th home run of the season in the fifth inning against the Orioles on Saturday

Kepler showing a return to form following long slump

Max Kepler, batting .165 in the previous 24 games, had two hits Thursday against Baltimore and a two-run homer Friday. On Saturday, he hammered a 2-0 fastball clocked at 96 miles per hour.
Infielders Eduardo Escobar, left, and Brian Dozier could be Twins players offered as trade possibilities as the deadline approaches. Escobar leads the

Twins are ready to be sellers at the MLB trade deadline, sources say

Half the season is gone, important players have underperformed and the deficits are too great to make up.
Brewers center fielder Keon Broxton made a leaping catch at the wall on a ball hit by the Twins' Brian Dozier during the ninth inning. Despite a later

Twins lose 3-2 to Brewers to end 1-8 road trip fiasco

Brewers complete sweep with three solo home runs.
The Twins' Jorge Polanco went 2-for-3 with an RBI on Wednesday against the Brewers to finish 3-for-11 in the series.

Twins' Polanco getting back in groove after return from suspension

He went 2-for-3 with an RBI on Wednesday against the Brewers to finish 3-for-11 in the series.
The Brewers’ Eric Thames belted a two-run home run during the fifth inning, the only runs Milwaukee needed to beat the Twins 2-0 on Tuesday.

Twins held to two hits in 2-0 loss to Brewers

Three Brewers pitchers combined on the two-hitter, and Eric Thames' two-run homer in the fifth inning provided all the runs Milwaukee would need.
Twins reliever Zack Littell trudged back to the dugout as the Brewers' Manny Pina scored on a walkoff walk in the 10th inning Monday, giving Milwaukee

Twins squander Grossman's grand slam, fall to Brewers in 10 innings

Grossman's fifth-inning slam got the Twins on an early roll, but the Brewers rallied to tie the score in the ninth against closer Fernando Rodney and won it in extra innings on a bases-loaded walk by Zack Littell.
Twins center fielder Byron Buxton (left, being checked by right fielder Max Kepler after Buxton ran into the outfield wall May 26 in Seattle) was rein

Buxton off DL, but he stays in Rochester; Polanco returns

The Twins have repeatedly said they will leave Buxton at Rochester until he gets his bat going — and that meant beyond his 20-day rehab.
If you want to watch the Twins play the Brewers on Tuesday, don’t head to Fox Sports North. Head for your computer, smartphone or tablet.

To catch Tuesday's Twins-Brewers game, fans must tune in to Facebook

If you want to watch the Twins play the Brewers on Tuesday, don't head to Fox Sports North. Head for your computer, smartphone or tablet.
MATT MARTON • Associated Press
Twins rightander Lance Lynn stood in the dugout after being pulled during a disasterous second inning against the Cub

Twins swept by Cubs, lose 11-10 as rally from eight-run hole falls short

Lance Lynn was chased during an eight-run second inning that had the Twins playing catch-up from there.
Dodgers starting pitcher Kenta Maeda headed into the visitor's bullpen before the start of a game at Wrigley Field earlier this month. The new enclose

Wrigley Field enclosed bullpen a relief from heat for Twins relievers

But they have popped out during breaks in the action to get a taste of fresh air.
Chicago Cubs' Addison Russell, right, and Jason Heyward, left, celebrate Russell's grand slam, next to Twins catcher Mitch Garver during the fifth inn

Cubs blast their way to victory over Twins on blustery day at Wrigley

Joe Mauer had five RBI for the Twins, but with the wind blowing out the Cubs hit four home runs en route to a 10-6 victory.
Astudillo

Twins call up versatile, free-swinging Astudillo from Rochester

In 609 games and 2,342 plate appearances over nine minor league seasons, Willians Astudillo has walked 80 times while striking out 76. Miguel Sano has struck out 66 times — this year.
Logan Morrison celebrates his home run off White Sox starting pitcher Lucas Giolito, in the seventh inning

Morrison comes through - twice - in 13-inning Twins victory

After Logan Morrison homered in the seventh, closer Fernando Rodney blew the save for the Twins vs. the White Sox. Morrison, though, came through again by scoring the game-winning run.
Wrigley Field

Friendly confines: Twins players excited to play at Wrigley Field

The last time the Twins played at Wrigley Field was 2009, so many of the current Twins on Friday will play in front of the outfield ivy for the first time.
Mejìa

Twins will call up Adalberto Mejia for Saturday start vs. Cubs

CHICAGO – Lefthander Adalberto Mejia will be called up from Class AAA Rochester in time to start Saturday against the Cubs in an interleague…
Chicago White Sox's Yolmer Sanchez hit a two-run single off the Twins' Taylor Rogers during the sixth inning

Blame it on the glove: Twins lose after rain delay in Chicago

Chicago's rally began with two deflected infield hits off Twins starter Lance Lynn and the game unraveled from there in an 8-4 loss to open a nine-game road trip.
Twins pitchers Fernando Romero (left) and Alan Busenitz

Twins send Romero to Class AAA, promote Busenitz

The Twins sent Fernando Romero down after Saturday's 9-6 loss to Texas to call up reliever Alan Busenitz to prop up a beleaguered bullpen.
Jake Odorizzi gave up six runs in 1⅔ innings Saturday vs. Texas, which held off the Twins for its seventh consecutive victory.

Odorizzi gives Twins little shot, leaving late rally to fall short

Unable to find the right pitch at the right time to finish off hitters, Odorizzi was beaten down a wave of soft line drives Saturday and knocked out of the game in the second inning.
Minnesota Twins starter Jake Odorizzi, middle, watches a run score on a double by the Texas Rangers Shin-Soo Choo, left, during the second inning Satu

Saturday's Twins-Texas game recap

The Twins lost to the Texas Rangers 9-6 Saturday at Target Field.
Max Kepler led the Twins with a two-run homer in the fourth inning and a diving catch in the eighth.

Max effort: Kepler leads Twins past Boston with his bat and glove

Max Kepler's two-run homer broke a 1-1 tie in the fourth inning; he also made a key catch in the eighth inning as the Twins won for a second consecutive night over the Red Sox.
Twins reliever Addison Reed allowed five singles and four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning earlier this season vs. Detroit. It's been a slow go

Twins give reliever Reed time to regroup

Addison Reed was nearly unhittable the first few weeks of his Twins career, but recent outings have been vastly different.
Miguel Sano will spend time in Fort Myers to work on his game.

Construction zone: Twins begin task of repairing Miguel Sano's swing

Although Miguel Sano currently weighs close to 300 pounds, his weight isn't as much an issue as his problem hitting the slider.
Eduardo Escobar, left, and Eddie Rosario have combined for 39 percent of the Twins’ home runs, 33 percent of their RBI and 33 percent of their extra

Carrying the Twins: Two Eds are better than one (and needed now)

Eddie Rosario and Eduardo Escobar have combined for 39 percent of the Twins' home runs, as well as one-third of the team's extra-base hits and RBI.
Minnesota Twins center fielder Jake Cave doubled to deep center in the eighth inning. ] JEFF WHEELER � jeff.wheeler@startribune.com The Minnesota Tw

Rookie Cave's big day boosts Twins to win over Angels

Jake Cave stepped into the starting lineup and had three hits, including a home run and double, as the Twins ended a long up-and-down homestand with a 6-5 record.
Minnesota Twins center fielder Byron Buxton, second from left, is attended to by head trainer Tony Leo, second from right, after he crashed into the w

Molitor: Buxton 'pleased' with work in recovery from broken toe

The center fielder ran the bases Sunday, evidence that he's feeling less discomfort. He also has been getting some swings in while waiting for the hairline fracture to heal.
Angels second baseman Ian Kinsler celebrated in the dugout after hitting a two-run home run in the top of the seventh inning.

'Mistakes' pile up as Pressly, Reed continue struggles in Twins loss to Angels

Ryan Pressly gave up a two-run home run in the seventh and Addison Reed allowed a solo shot an inning later as the Twins lost 4-2 at Target Field.
Shohei Ohtani

Angels place Shohei Ohtani on disabled list, and it could be a while

This weekend would have marked Shohei Ohtani's first games in Minnesota, but Twins fans will be unable to see him here until next season — and Angels fans are afraid they might have to wait just as long.
The Twins, with the 20th overall pick of the 2018 draft, selected Oregon State outfielder Trevor Larnach (11).

Twins take late-blooming Oregon State slugger Larnach in MLB draft

Outfielder Trevor Larnach, whose team plays host to Minnesota this weekend for a trip to the College World Series, is viewed as a power prospect on the rise
Eddie Rosario celebrated at home plate with his Twins teammates after his walkoff two-run home run off Indians pitcher Cody Allen in the ninth inning

Early, middle, walkoff: Rosario's 3 homers boost Twins over Cleveland

Whatever the reason might be, the Twins seem to have rediscovered their groove. And Eddie Rosario is leading the way.
Zach Littell

Littell expected to get called up by Twins for Tuesday doubleheader

Righthander Zack Littell is expected to be called up as the 26th player and make one of the starts against the White Sox.
Twins Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey, left, listened as last year's first overall MLB draft pick, shortstop Royce Lewis, addressed the media in J

After having No. 1 pick last year, Twins will alter strategy at No. 20

A year after selecting No. 1 overall, Twins will have to wait and see who's available before their turn
The Twins' Eddie Rosario has become a dangerous bad-ball hitter.

Twins' Rosario feasting on pitches outside of strike zone

Rosario routinely makes bad-ball hitting a good thing, like Sunday, when he blasted three home runs.
Francisco Lindor is congratulated by Jason Kipnis after hitting a three-run home run in the fourth inning against the Twins on Thursday

More misery: Twins dig another huge hole ... rally for tie ... lose

After trailing 9-0 in Kansas City on Wednesday, the Twins fell behind Cleveland 8-0 before rallying on Thursday, only to have Francisco Lindor's fourth-extra base hit of the night send them to defeat.
Joe Mauer

'Disappointed' Mauer has setback in concussion recovery

Joe Mauer, on the DL for nearly two weeks due to a neck strain and concussion-like symptoms, took batting practice Thursday but did not make it through fielding drills.
Miguel Sano

Sano returning to Twins; Cave going back to Rochester

Miguel Sano will return to the Twins for Friday's game in Seattle after finishing a stint on the disabled list and a rehab assignment.
Twins outfielders Jake Cave, left, Byron Buxton, center, and Max Kepler chat during a pitching change during the top of the eighth inning

Two out of three doesn't satisfy Molitor as Twins' offense silent in loss

Just when the pitching staff is starting to find a groove, the Twins offense can't find ways to score. "It's a little disappointing to be honest," Twins manager Paul Molitor said.
Twins starting pitcher Kyle Gibson took to the mound during the first inning Wednesday.

Gibson goes six innings, but done in by one swing

Detroit's Niko Goodrum blasted a two-run home run that was the deciding factor in Wednesday's game, a blemish on an otherwise fine afternoon for Twins starter Kyle Gibson
Twins pitcher Lance Lynn throws against the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday at Target Field.

Solid Lynn beats up on Tigers (and then himself) in 6-0 Twins victory

Twins starter Lance Lynn on Tuesday wasn't happy with his ending but pitched 6⅔ of a 6-0 win thanks to a pair of doubles each from Ehire Adrianza and Brian Dozier.
Minnesota Twins manager Paul Molitor

Twins' roster might remain in flux for a few days

Expect the Twins, who currently have 12 pitchers and 13 position players on the roster, to light up the transaction wire between the end of Wednesday's series finale against Detroit and Friday's game at Seattle.
Ron Gardenhire

Gardenhire returning Monday to Target Field with his surpising Tigers

Baseball Insider: Detroit, coming off a terrible season, is rebuilding with more of a carefree attitude under Ron Gardenhire.
Miguel Sano tossed his bat after striking out in April.

Twins to take it slow with Sano's rehab assignment

"It's a tentative schedule, depending on how he copes and how the body responds," manager Paul Molitor said.
Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Andrew Miller has hit a bit of a rough patch over his last few appearances.

AL Central intelligence: Division defined by struggles, injuries and no whistling

The Star Tribune's La Velle E. Neal III takes a look around the American League Central.
Milwaukee Brewers' Jesus Aguilar, right, rounds the bases on a solo home run as Minnesota Twins' second baseman Brian Dozier watches in the seventh in

Friday's Twins-Milwaukee game recap

On Friday the Twins lost to the Brewers 8-3 in Game 1 of the Border Battle at Target Field.
Twins pitcher Kyle Gibson, right, headed to the dugout Friday after he was pulled in the sixth inning. He struck out five, but gave up five earned run

Gibson knocked around, offense struggles in Border Battle Game 1

Righthander Kyle Gibson was hit early and too often, and Twins hitters were befuddled by lefthander Brent Suter's craftiness as they lost to Milwaukee 8-3.
Twins first baseman Joe Mauer

Mauer leaves Friday's game after aggravating neck injury

Mauer had suffered a slight injury to the left side of his neck while chasing after then diving for a foul ball during last weekend's series in Anaheim.
Fans clap as Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani, of Japan, leaves the field during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Mi

Twins impressed with Ohtani while Romero finally yields a run

The Twins saw Sunday in their 2-1 loss to the Angels that Shohei Ohtani — the pitcher — is the real deal.
The Twins' Ehire Adrianza was tagged out by Angels catcher Martin Maldonado trying to score on a double by Robbie Grossman in the ninth inning Sunday.

Twins lose to Angels in ninth, but happy with 'heck of a road trip'

A baserunning blunder in the top of the ninth contributed to the Twins' sixth walk-off loss of the season. But players were looking at the big picture and happy with their overall improved play.
Mitch Garver watches his RBI-double against the Angels during the 12th inning Saturday.

Garver delivers late again as Twins topple Angels in 12 innings

After hitting a tying double to right on Friday to cap a comeback victory, Mitch Garver's RBI double in the 12th inning drove in Eddie Rosario with the winning run in a 5-3 victory.
Minnesota Twins' Max Kepler celebrates in the dugout after his home run against the Los Angeles Angels during the sixth inning of a baseball game in A

Twins give bruised and battered Kepler the night off

Max Kepler was hit by a pitch in the hand on Thursday night and was out of the lineup Friday, although he was called upon in the ninth inning.
Minnesota Twins’ Eddie Rosario, right, gets congratulations from Robbie Grossman after Rosario hits a solo home run against the Los Angeles Angels d

Twins score three in the ninth to beat Angels 5-4

The Twins' Friday-night rally, sparked by Eddie Rosario's second home run of the game, overcame Lance Lynn's struggles on the mound.
Byron Buxton at Target Field in April.

Byron Buxton activated from disabled list by Twins

Byron Buxton is batting only .186, but his return to the Twins lineup on Thursday night was met with open arms.
Wander Javier

Top Twins prospect Wander Javier out for the season

The 19-year-old shortstop will have shoulder surgery performed by Dr. James Andrews.
Ichiro Suzuki

Twins watched in admiration as Ichiro did it his way

Paul Molitor was a hitting coach for one of the most unorthodox players in baseball history.
Eddie Rosario, right, displayed his talents all over Target Field during the recent homestand.

Rosario on a tear, showing power to all fields

Eddie Rosario went 5-for-12 in the series with Toronto, belting two home runs, a double and four RBI.
Toronto's Luke Maile stole third base in the 10th inning at Target Field on Tuesday

Extra-painful defeat: Blue Jays score three in 10th inning to top Twins

The Twins and Blue Jays took turns claiming and giving up the lead before Toronto pounced on the Twins in extra innings Tuesday. Minnesota has now lost 11 of 12 games.
Twins pitcher Jake Odorizzi throws against the Reds in the first inning Saturday

Odorizzi's strong outing helps Twins beat Reds, end 8-game skid

Jake Odorizzi limited the Reds to one run in six innings of work, and Mitch Garver's home run supplied the offense.
Twins pitcher Fernando Rodney

Rodney has a reason for not using his changeup early on in season

Fernando Rodney has thrown his changeup an average of 35.4 percent in his career. But this year, he has thrown it only 18.6 percent of the time.
Minnesota Twins' Joe Mauer, right, beats the tag by Cincinnati Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart to score on a double by Max Kepler in the fourth inning of

'This one hurts': Everything ails Twins - even the Reds

The Twins returned home hoping to end a seven-game losing skid but instead lost 15-9 in a game they led 8-4.
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