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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
Sano not exactly downsized, but ready for switch to the outfield

Sano not exactly downsized, but ready for switch to the outfield

Miguel Sano entered the offseason with a diet and exercise plan to help him lose 20 pounds. That was the hope after he finished the 2015 season at 268 pounds.
Twins notes: Nolasco aims to earn starting role

Twins notes: Nolasco aims to earn starting role

Halfway through his four-year, $49 million contract, Twins righthander Ricky Nolasco knows he has not fulfilled his end of the deal.
Twins slugger Byung Ho Park gets acquainted with new team

Twins slugger Byung Ho Park gets acquainted with new team

This weekend marks Byung Ho Park's first interaction with Twins fans and teammates, and his first taste of what kind of baseball town he's in.
Molitor's goals for 2016 include more winning, more communication

Molitor's goals for 2016 include more winning, more communication

While last season was generally positive for manager Paul Moiltor, it didn't come without learning moments. And he knows that 2016 will bring a new set of challenges and higher expectations.
Royals still the team to beat in AL Central, but rivals closing the gap

Royals still the team to beat in AL Central, but rivals closing the gap

The majority of the roster that helped the Kansas City Royals win their first World Series championship since 1985 will return next season. But it won't be the same team.
Twins inivite former A's reliever, 21 others to spring training

Twins inivite former A's reliever, 21 others to spring training

The Twins on Thursday released a list of 22 players they will invite to spring training, including some interesting candidates for openings in the bullpen…
Molitor leaning towards having May in Twins bullpen

Molitor leaning towards having May in Twins bullpen

The Twins manager called the righthander Trevor May a "very valuable asset" in relief.
Miguel Sano decides to leave his winter league team

Miguel Sano decides to leave his winter league team

Miguel Sano has said losing 20 pounds and learning to play outfield are the priorities this offseason.
While others make moves, Twins quiet at winter meetings

While others make moves, Twins quiet at winter meetings

There's still plenty of offseason left, and the Twins previously added two new players in catcher John Ryan Murphy and designated hitter Byung Ho Park.
Short list: Twins search for left-handed relief continues

Short list: Twins search for left-handed relief continues

It's only one move, but it's a move that can come back to bite them — over and over again — if they don't get it right.
Molitor addresses Plouffe-Sano issue at winter meetings

Molitor addresses Plouffe-Sano issue at winter meetings

The Twins' offense struggled at times last season, and the Twins say they need both Trevor Plouffe and Miguel Sano in the lineup.
Cost of bullpen help figures to be high this offseason

Cost of bullpen help figures to be high this offseason

Trading for relief help could be a better option than a free-agent signing. One report has the Nationals willing to shop Drew Storen, who had 29 saves in 2015.
Newly retired Hunter looks back on baseball career

Newly retired Hunter looks back on baseball career

Ex-Twin got emotional as praise, tributes piled up.
Twins need to upgrade bullpen, catching to make 2016 run

Twins need to upgrade bullpen, catching to make 2016 run

Free agency starts Friday. Will the Twins be spending or watching?

Twins shake up communications departments in front office

Longtime employee Kevin Smith had his job eliminated as the club expands duties of Dustin Morse and Chris Iles.
Torii Hunter says it's time after his one-year encore with Twins

Torii Hunter says it's time after his one-year encore with Twins

The Twins star outfielder is closing the books on a 19-year major league career that included five All-Star Games and nine Gold Glove Awards.
Binger family is identified as investor in MLS franchise

Binger family is identified as investor in MLS franchise

The Binger family, which is involved in many philanthropic endeavors in the area, has been the fifth member of the MLS-to-Minnesota movement for several months, the Star Tribune has learned.
MLS investor confirms more partners are being sought

MLS investor confirms more partners are being sought

Twins owner Jim Pohlad, whose family is one of the known groups ready to invest in the team, confirmed what has been speculated: There is an ongoing search for more investors to bring big-league soccer to the Twin Cities.
Pohlad buoyed by strides Twins made this past season

Pohlad buoyed by strides Twins made this past season

Twins owner Jim Pohlad is upbeat about where his team is headed.
Twins had 13 more wins than last year, but fall short of team goal

Twins had 13 more wins than last year, but fall short of team goal

Winning season leaves Twins disappointed they aren't part of playoff picture.
Twins' Milone steps up for a second time at end

Twins' Milone steps up for a second time at end

Before their Saturday fell apart and the Twins' playoff dreams were crushed, Tommy Milone did what he could to keep his club in the game.
Twins notes: Twins get back at Ramirez in their own way

Twins notes: Twins get back at Ramirez in their own way

The last week of the season, while the Twins are trying to snatch a wild-card spot, is not the time to get back at Jose Ramirez for his bat flip.
Twins come home as winners for final series; wild card race down to the wire

Twins come home as winners for final series; wild card race down to the wire

The Twins' wild-card dreams stayed alive Thursday night when they pulled off a white-knuckle wonder with a 4-2 victory over the Indians. The regular season wraps this weekend at home against the Royals.
Twins notes: Gibson's in for a meaningful start Sunday

Twins notes: Gibson's in for a meaningful start Sunday

If the season is on the line Sunday against the Royals, the Twins' most reliable starter wants the ball.
Afternoon of promise, but a poor night as Twins split doubleheader in Cleveland

Afternoon of promise, but a poor night as Twins split doubleheader in Cleveland

The Twins' dominated Game 1 of Thursday's doubleheader but that gave way to a loss in the second game as Mike Pelfrey was knocked out in the second inning.
After rainout, Twins' job now doubly difficult

After rainout, Twins' job now doubly difficult

Tuesday night's rainout has created a doubleheader that starts at 3:10 p.m. and caused some mayhem with the team's pitching plans for the final days of the season.
Frustrated May once again can't go for Twins

Frustrated May once again can't go for Twins

The key set-up man has appeared in only four games since Sept. 9 because of a back condition.
Illness knocks out Twins' Hughes from start

Illness knocks out Twins' Hughes from start

The righthander, who said he has been sick for the past couple of days, fell victim to the bug that has worked its way through the team.
Twins win 7-1 to set up meaningful final week

Twins win 7-1 to set up meaningful final week

Sunday's victory in Detroit sets up one final week to close out the season with a berth in the playoffs on the line for the Twins.
Twins notes: Buxton connects for first major league homer

Twins notes: Buxton connects for first major league homer

Byron Buxton drilled a 96-miles-per-hour fastball from Jose Valdez into the seats in left in the eighth inning for his first home run in 129 major league plate appearances.
Twins collect much-needed victory in Detroit

Twins collect much-needed victory in Detroit

Tyler Duffey's veteran-like performance, matched by a few clutch at-bats, lifted the Twins to a 6-2 win over the Tigers.
Potential Game 163 — and 164 — loom for Twins

Potential Game 163 — and 164 — loom for Twins

Eight games remain and the Twins are in the thick of the AL wild card chase. It's time to look at potential Game 163 scenarios.
Back injury forces Twins' May to sit

Back injury forces Twins' May to sit

Trevor May, who has pitched in only one game since Sept. 19, tried getting loose before Friday's game but was unable.
Twins notes: For now, Molitor keeps Perkins in set-up role

Twins notes: For now, Molitor keeps Perkins in set-up role

Twins manager Paul Molitor on Wednesday met with reliever Glen Perkins to make sure the lefthanded reliever understood how he's going to be used in the near future.
Hughes sharp as Twins gain ground in wild-card race

Hughes sharp as Twins gain ground in wild-card race

The Twins solved Corey Kluber and have won three consecutive games for the first time in three weeks, The victory enabled Minnesota to creep within one game of Houston in the battle for the second AL wild-card spot.
If history repeats, count on a wild ending for Twins in wild-card race

If history repeats, count on a wild ending for Twins in wild-card race

Flawed Twins remain in thick of AL postseason race as games wind down.
Unlikely stopper: Rookie Duffey's pitching breaks Twins slump

Unlikely stopper: Rookie Duffey's pitching breaks Twins slump

Over his past three starts, Tyler Duffey is 2-0 with a 1.35 ERA, making him the Twins' most effective starter during this postseason push.
Hughes back in, Milone out of Twins rotation

Hughes back in, Milone out of Twins rotation

Every day, there seems to be new developments concerning the Twins rotation. Here's what went down Sunday:Phil Hughes will return to the rotation Wednesday…
Twins' Nolasco might end up getting late-season call

Twins' Nolasco might end up getting late-season call

The Twins are getting veteran Ricky Nolasco ready to pitch for the first time since May.
Rain gives struggling Dozier his day off

Rain gives struggling Dozier his day off

After a blistering run at the end of the first half — which helped him reach the All-Star Game for the first time — Dozier is batting .196 over his previous 47 games. Friday's rainout allowed Dozier to get the day off.
Hughes rusty in return, Twins' rally falls short

Hughes rusty in return, Twins' rally falls short

The Twins hoped some of that old Phil Hughes magic would reappear and help them beat Detroit as they continue their push for a wild-card spot. Didn't happen.
Twins notes: Gardenhire weighs managing options

Twins notes: Gardenhire weighs managing options

If former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire is serious about returning to the dugout next season, he could have multiple options.
Another big first inning carries Twins past Tigers

Another big first inning carries Twins past Tigers

The Twins jumped ahead 4-0 for the second game in a row, and never looked back beating the Tigers 7-1.
Hughes, Perkins both on mend for Twins

Hughes, Perkins both on mend for Twins

By the end of the week, the Twins could have all their key pitchers healthy.
After loss, Twins to find out where they belong

After loss, Twins to find out where they belong

A daunting road trip awaits the Twins after they lost Thursday afternoon 6-4 to the White Sox.
Perkins' back issues force Twins to revise closer plan

Perkins' back issues force Twins to revise closer plan

An MRI showed Glen Perkins' back is structurally sound, but he remains in discomfort and will stay in the Twin Cities for treatment as the Twins head out on a road trip to Houston, Kansas City and Chicago.
Twins make the most of sparse offense to shut out White Sox

Twins make the most of sparse offense to shut out White Sox

Tommy Milone made a one-run lead stand up during his seven-inning stint to beat Chicago.
Twins notes: Berrios not among early September call-ups

Twins notes: Berrios not among early September call-ups

The Twins welcomed a handful of September call-ups into the clubhouse Tuesday, but most of the talk centered on one prospect who was not promoted.
Twins lose finale at Tampa Bay, but win road trip

Twins lose finale at Tampa Bay, but win road trip

The Twins head home after a six-game win streak ended with a 5-4 loss to the Rays.
Berrios excels, but will Twins call him up?

Berrios excels, but will Twins call him up?

Twins General Manager Terry Ryan is watching prospects at Class AAA Rochester, evaluating potential September call-ups. And righthander Jose Berrios gave him a lot to think about.
Twins rejoin playoff picture with 6th consecutive win

Twins rejoin playoff picture with 6th consecutive win

The Twins' victory Wednesday over Tampa Bay, their sixth straight on the road, jumps them back into a wild-card spot.
Twins notes: Graham heads to 15-day disabled list

Twins notes: Graham heads to 15-day disabled list

The Twins placed righthander J.R. Graham on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday because of right shoulder inflammation.
Home runs bail out Santana as Twins win fifth straight road game

Home runs bail out Santana as Twins win fifth straight road game

Three home runs, including another blast by Miguel Sano, helped the Twins escape a bad outing from Ervin Santana and win a fifth straight game away from Target Field.
As teams adjust, Twins' Duffey has more than curveball

As teams adjust, Twins' Duffey has more than curveball

Tyler Duffey throws his curveball like he's been doing it all his life. Not quite.
Twins, Buxton hope second time around is different

Twins, Buxton hope second time around is different

The Twins hope Byron Buxton's second MLB stint rivals a trend of his career.
Twins riding high after sweep of Orioles

Twins riding high after sweep of Orioles

Contributions came from everywhere as the Twins rallied to beat the Orioles 4-3 in 12 innings Sunday.
Twins notes: Perkins finds himself a key part of game plan

Twins notes: Perkins finds himself a key part of game plan

The Twins wanted to stick to their plan to save closer Glen Perkins for the Rays series that starts Tuesday — despite Perkins' attempts to make himself available for Sunday's game with the Orioles.
Twins getting used to winning in Baltimore

Twins getting used to winning in Baltimore

Their road winning streak reached three games.
Twins notes: Newly acquired Cotts joins team

Twins notes: Newly acquired Cotts joins team

Neal Cotts was 1-0 with a 3.26 ERA in 51 appearances with the Brewers.
Twins notes: Deal made to acquire reliever Cotts from Brewers

Twins notes: Deal made to acquire reliever Cotts from Brewers

The Twins made a move to bolster their bullpen following Friday's 4-3 victory over Baltimore, trading with Milwaukee for veteran lefthander Neal Cotts.
Twins rally late to win close one over Baltimore

Twins rally late to win close one over Baltimore

Sharp baserunning and a big bloop hit help the Twins bounce back in the eighth inning at Baltimore.
Twins break out in a big way to beat Baltimore

Twins break out in a big way to beat Baltimore

The Twins waited out a 2 hour, 31 minute rain delay to score a season high in runs, routing Baltimore 15-2 on Thursday night to open a four-game series.
Twins swept by Yankees, tumble in wild card

Twins swept by Yankees, tumble in wild card

The Twins had a lead in all three games in New York and came away without a victory to start crucial road trip
Buxton gets called up to Twins; Hicks goes on DL

Buxton gets called up to Twins; Hicks goes on DL

It's not under preferred circumstances, but top prospects Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano will finally be in the same Twins lineup.
A-Rod's slam dooms Twins again at Yankee Stadium

A-Rod's slam dooms Twins again at Yankee Stadium

Alex Rodriguez clobbered a fastball to straightaway center field for a seventh-inning grand slam and the Twins were stunned once again in an 8-4 loss.
Twins closer Perkins to have MRI, cortisone shot for neck problems

Twins closer Perkins to have MRI, cortisone shot for neck problems

Glen Perkins, the Twins' All-Star closer, headed back to the Twin Cities on Tuesday to have his neck examined.
Yankees end 10-inning drama with walk-off

Yankees end 10-inning drama with walk-off

Eduardo Nunez's booted ground ball in the 10th inning allowed Greg Bird to score the winning run for the Yankees to beat the Twins in New York.
Yankee Stadium dazzles Twins youngsters

Yankee Stadium dazzles Twins youngsters

Miguel was one of a handful of Twins playing in Yankee Stadium for the first time.
Duffey makes amends, helps Twins top Cleveland 4-1

Duffey makes amends, helps Twins top Cleveland 4-1

His second start went much better than his first, as he gave up one hit.
Twins' Rosario throwing out runners regularly

Twins' Rosario throwing out runners regularly

The outfielder has 10 assists in only 80 games this season.
Twins could call up pitcher Berrios next

Twins could call up pitcher Berrios next

Is it time for Jose Berrios to be the next top prospect to debut for the Twins? He's one of the options to pitch on Saturday night against Cleveland.
Pregame players meeting leads to walk-off greeting

Pregame players meeting leads to walk-off greeting

After a rare players-only meeting, the Twins rallied for two runs in the eighth and won in a walk-off over the Rangers on Eduardo Escobar's double.
Twins notes: Improving Hicks leads off

Twins notes: Improving Hicks leads off

Aaron Hicks was the leadoff hitter for the third time this season Tuesday as manager Paul Molitor continues to search for ways to generate runs.
Oliva lays out AL pennant challenge to this year's Twins

Oliva lays out AL pennant challenge to this year's Twins

The Twins honored their 1965 AL championship team, which lost the World Series in seven games.
Twins notes: Pitchers get ahead in count but struggle to close deal

Twins notes: Pitchers get ahead in count but struggle to close deal

It happened during both games of the series with the Pirates. A Twins pitcher would get two strikes on a hitter but fail to put him away.
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