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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
Twins suspend pitching coach Neil Allen after DWI arrest

Twins suspend pitching coach Neil Allen after DWI arrest

According to the incident report, Allen was stopped by officers for the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office at around 2 a.m. Thursday at 6th Street S. and Park Avenue
Brunansky knows spotlight is on him as Twins hitters struggle

Brunansky knows spotlight is on him as Twins hitters struggle

This is not the Twins offense hitting coach Tom Brunansky expected to see coming out of spring training, and he is constantly searching for ways to re-program hitters who have gotten away from what they do well.
Twins notes: Dozier, Sano end power slumps

Twins notes: Dozier, Sano end power slumps

The Twins hit three home runs Wednesday, including ones by Brian Dozier and Miguel Sano that, at least for a game, silenced the critics.
Surviving ugly inning, Duffey first Twins starter to get second win

Surviving ugly inning, Duffey first Twins starter to get second win

After giving up five runs in the fourth inning, which included an odd balk, Tyler Duffey pitched until he was lifted with two outs and two runners on in the seventh.
Light-hitting Twins no match for Donaldson and loud-chirping Jays

Light-hitting Twins no match for Donaldson and loud-chirping Jays

The Jays started the game with two home runs off pitcher Phil Hughes, including one by Josh Donaldson, who let Twins coach Joe Vavra know he was miffed about what had taken placed during Saturday's game.
Perkins suffers setback in shoulder rehab

Perkins suffers setback in shoulder rehab

Twins closer Glen Perkins has had a setback in his recovery from soreness in his left shoulder. The new plan is for him to wait until the end of the week before trying to play catch again.
Hapless early, Twins rally to beat Happ, Blue Jays 5-3

Hapless early, Twins rally to beat Happ, Blue Jays 5-3

The Twins dusted off the postgame dance machine, winning at Target Field for the first time in eight games thanks to a three-run home run in the eighth inning by Eduardo Nunez.
Twins GM Ryan: 'We are in dire straits here'

Twins GM Ryan: 'We are in dire straits here'

Twins GM Terry Ryan is expected to keep making more adjustments as the Twins remain desperate for victories. And the trade market should heat up over the next month or so.
Twins demote Rosario after outfielder's bad game

Twins demote Rosario after outfielder's bad game

Eddie Rosario's multiple mistakes landed him in the doghouse, on the bench when he was pulled in the seventh inning Wednesday and ultimately on the way to the minor leagues.
Twins return home after error-filled, 'embarrassing' loss in Detroit

Twins return home after error-filled, 'embarrassing' loss in Detroit

Brian Dozier fumed in the clubhouse after Wednesday's 6-3 loss to the Tigers, saying the 10-29 Twins, "did a lot of things wrong" in their latest defeat.
Bullpen implodes in seven-run seventh of Twins loss to Tigers

Bullpen implodes in seven-run seventh of Twins loss to Tigers

Phil Hughes left after just 75 pitches with the lead Tuesday night in Detroit, before the Twins bullpen lost the game in remarkable fashion.
Berrios needs 'better idea of what he's doing;' Dean starts Saturday

Berrios needs 'better idea of what he's doing;' Dean starts Saturday

Pitcher Jose Berrios is the most recent demotion, which happened after he gave up seven runs in two-thirds of an inning Monday in a 10-8 loss to the Tigers.
Twins climb back from eight-run deficit — then lose to Tigers

Twins climb back from eight-run deficit — then lose to Tigers

After Jose Berrios was knocked out during an eight-run first inning, the Twins tied the game -- and then lost because of two Detroit home runs.
Molitor doesn't want Sano's defense to affect offense

Molitor doesn't want Sano's defense to affect offense

Twins manager Paul Molitor reminds right fielder Miguel Sano at times that learning a new position takes time. He doesn't want his young slugger to get down if things aren't going well defensively.
Veterans on the bench, Twins win second straight behind Duffey's strong start

Veterans on the bench, Twins win second straight behind Duffey's strong start

Using an "oddball" lineup, the Twins won back-to-back games for first time since April 25-26 at home against Cleveland — which also was their last series win.
Twins in no rush to bring Buxton back up

Twins in no rush to bring Buxton back up

Despite Buxton's recent surge at Class AAA Rochester -- a .353 batting average over his past 13 games -- the club doesn't appear ready to call him back up any time soon.
Park getting his second looks at American League pitchers

Park getting his second looks at American League pitchers

CLEVELAND – Byung Ho Park’s adjustment to Major League Baseball has been quicker than the Twins expected. Now they are beginning to see what…
Meltdown sends Twins to eighth consecutive loss

Meltdown sends Twins to eighth consecutive loss

They led in the eighth inning before another bullpen implosion made it eight losses in a row.
Park goes deep twice in four-homer night for Twins

Park goes deep twice in four-homer night for Twins

But he struck out with runners at the corners to end the game.
Torii Hunter says Twins 'are kind of going through the motions'

Torii Hunter says Twins 'are kind of going through the motions'

Hunter, who played his 19th and final season with the Twins last year, has watched many of their games and seen the carnage that has led to the team being tied for worst record in baseball at 8-25.
Ninth inning costly for Twins in loss to Orioles

Ninth inning costly for Twins in loss to Orioles

The Twins got adequate offense and pitching until a late Orioles rally off Kevin Jepsen sent the team to its 24th loss of the season.
Rain might mess with Twins-Orioles series finale

Rain might mess with Twins-Orioles series finale

Monday's game was postponed, and the forecast for Wednesday's game is not promising with rain expected to fall from midday into the evening.
In effort to boost offense, Twins try out Mauer as leadoff hitter

In effort to boost offense, Twins try out Mauer as leadoff hitter

Twins manager Paul Molitor indicated after Monday night's game was postponed that he is committed to taking a look at the batter order with Mauer and his .420 on-base percentage on top of it.
Rainout gives Twins chance to recover

Rainout gives Twins chance to recover

The postponement seemed to be just what the Twins needed following a 1-5 road trip. But third baseman Trevor Plouffe and manager Paul Molitor disagreed.
'All-around frustrating' as Twins pounded 16-4 by Houston

'All-around frustrating' as Twins pounded 16-4 by Houston

Houston, which hit three home runs Wednesday, won back-to-back games for the first time this season while kicking the Twins out of town with a 2-12 road record.
Twins notes: Molitor gives Rosario a break

Twins notes: Molitor gives Rosario a break

Stuck in a slump, Eddie Rosario got Wednesday off and is trying to work on mechanical issues with hitting coach Tom Brunansky.
Meyer's outing goes south, then he's sent down after Twins lose

Meyer's outing goes south, then he's sent down after Twins lose

Unlike Jose Berrios, Alex Meyer's first start didn't last past the third inning Tuesday night. Meyer was optioned to Class AAA Rochester following the game.
Twins' Santana expected back on mound Saturday

Twins' Santana expected back on mound Saturday

Ervin Santana will be activated from the 15-day disabled list in time to start Saturday in Chicago. Twins manager Paul Molitor made the announcement after Santana threw 30 pitches during a simulated game Tuesday
Berrios gets first win as Twins snap Cy Young ace Keuchel's home streak

Berrios gets first win as Twins snap Cy Young ace Keuchel's home streak

Jose Berrios understood who he was up against on Monday in Dallas Keuchel -- and he successfully battled both the Astros' star and the umpire's strike zone.
Santana prepares to come off DL, start vs. White Sox on Saturday

Santana prepares to come off DL, start vs. White Sox on Saturday

Righthander Ervin Santana could return from the disabled list to start that night, provided his simulated game on Tuesday goes well.
One month down, nine games out: Twins have an uphill climb from here

One month down, nine games out: Twins have an uphill climb from here

The Twins blew the blueprint and made April a month of misery. They are 7-17 after the season's first month. The four other AL Central teams all have a winning record.
Handed early lead, Zimmermann shuts down reeling Twins

Handed early lead, Zimmermann shuts down reeling Twins

Three-run homer in Tigers first is plenty against a team hard-pressed to build rallies.

Twins notes: Duffey gives up long ball but is otherwise effective

Twins righthander Tyler Duffey gave up three runs in the first inning Saturday afternoon, but only one was earned, because of Eduardo Nunez's error.
Meyer is latest addition to Twins youthful rotation

Meyer is latest addition to Twins youthful rotation

Rookies Alex Meyer and Jose Berrios join Tyler Duffey, who has 62 innings in the majors, in the starting rotation. Meyer replaces Tommt Milone.
Tigers pitcher Fulmer powers past Twins in MLB debut

Tigers pitcher Fulmer powers past Twins in MLB debut

Phil Hughes gave up three runs in the first inning, all the Tigers needed Friday night to win the opener of a three-game series at Target Field.
Berrios starting tonight as veterans Gibson, Santana go on disabled list

Berrios starting tonight as veterans Gibson, Santana go on disabled list

In three starts with Rochester this season, 21-year-old Jose Berrios is 2-0 with a 1.06 ERA. He has struck out 20 batters and picked up where he left off after a strong 2015.
After blowing lead in top of ninth, Sano's walk-off single wins it

After blowing lead in top of ninth, Sano's walk-off single wins it

Miguel Sano's RBI single in the bottom of the ninth bailed out Twins closer Kevin Jepsen, who allowed Cleveland a game-tying home run with two outs in the top of the inning.
Line drive shortens Duffey's day as fill-in starter for Twins

Line drive shortens Duffey's day as fill-in starter for Twins

Twins fill-in starter Tyler Duffey gave up a run in the first inning, but he settled down after that until the fifth, when Matt den Dekker lined a pitch back up the middle that struck Duffey in his right shoulder.
Twins collapse twice, fall to Nationals in 16 innings

Twins collapse twice, fall to Nationals in 16 innings

A ninth-inning homer and a 15th-inning error led to a 16-inning loss, and a sweep.
Unhappy 18: Twins tie club record for K's in shutout loss

Unhappy 18: Twins tie club record for K's in shutout loss

Whiffs, combined with only two hits, sum up a day full of futility.
Twins notes: Out of necessity, Sano back at third base

Twins notes: Out of necessity, Sano back at third base

Manager Paul Molitor said certain events led to the decision use Sano at his old position.
Washington blasts winless and wild Gibson to beat Twins

Washington blasts winless and wild Gibson to beat Twins

The righthander was unable to control the strike zone or finish off hitters Friday, and it cost him and the Twins in an 8-4 loss to the Nationals. It dropped him to 0-3 this season.
Twins notes: With no DH, Park makes most of time on bench

Twins notes: With no DH, Park makes most of time on bench

Just when Byung Ho Park started to get hot at the plate, interleague play showed up to cool him off.
Error in right field wasn't Sano's only misplay in Brewers loss

Error in right field wasn't Sano's only misplay in Brewers loss

Miguel Sano's dropped line drive led to three Brewers runs Tuesday, and he also didn't deliver at the plate, where he's hitting under .200 for the season.
Twins' late rally can't mask mistakes in ninth-inning loss

Twins' late rally can't mask mistakes in ninth-inning loss

Crucial flaws at the plate and in the field on Thursday led to a 6-5 loss that ended the Twins' four-game winning streak.
Twins notes: Ervin Santana deals with rough first inning Tuesday

Twins notes: Ervin Santana deals with rough first inning Tuesday

The first three Brewers hitters reached base in the first inning, with runs scoring on Ryan Braun's single and Chris Carter's sacrifice fly.
Sweep of Angels breathes life back into Twins

Sweep of Angels breathes life back into Twins

Over the weekend, the Twins cut down on strikeouts, came up with clutch hits and showed their power potential while getting good pitching. The result was a three-game sweep of the Angels.
Strained muscle forces Twins to sideline Plouffe

Strained muscle forces Twins to sideline Plouffe

The Twins have won their past three games while Trevor Plouffe has gotten hot at the plate, going 8-for-12 in the three games with three doubles, a home run and four RBI.
Twins sign veteran outfielder David Murphy

Twins sign veteran outfielder David Murphy

David Murphy, 34, was signed to a minor-league deal but he isn't expected to stay with Class AAA Rochester long.
Failures continue: Twins drop to 0-8 with shutout loss to White Sox

Failures continue: Twins drop to 0-8 with shutout loss to White Sox

At this point, the Twins are looking for anything to get them out of their season-opening slump. Anything to ease the growing mental challenge of pretending nothing is wrong despite their record.
Twins offense is sputtering after first week

Twins offense is sputtering after first week

Their 0-7 start includes an offense averaging only 1.9 runs per game.
Nolasco's excellent start isn't rewarded with Twins victory

Nolasco's excellent start isn't rewarded with Twins victory

What will be overlooked among the mounting losses was one of Ricky Nolasco's best outings in his three seasons with the Twins.
Bullpen dooms Twins to first 0-6 start in team history in 10-inning loss

Bullpen dooms Twins to first 0-6 start in team history in 10-inning loss

Glen Perkins couldn't hold a two-run lead in the ninth, and the Twins lost in the 10th to cap a Royals sweep when Trevor May gave up a run without a hit.
Twins hit bottom, fall to 0-5 with shutout loss to Royals

Twins hit bottom, fall to 0-5 with shutout loss to Royals

A night full of errors, plus injury adds to the pain in the Twins' longest season-opening winless stretch.
Twins take note of season-ending injury to Cubs slugging outfielder

Twins take note of season-ending injury to Cubs slugging outfielder

The Twins saw an example of what could happen if Miguel Sano, in his formative stages as an outfielder, makes a misstep when the Cubs' Kyle Schwarber was injured.
Twins notes: Another outfield start for Danny Santana

Twins notes: Another outfield start for Danny Santana

Danny Santana on Friday started for a second game in a row as Twins manager Paul Molitor looks for ways to energize the offense.
Twins rally, then regress in 4-3 loss at KC

Twins rally, then regress in 4-3 loss at KC

The celebration of Byung Ho Park's first home run was cut short when the Royals rallied in the eighth inning against a Twins team that has already struck out 49 times on the young season.
It's a different Opening Day this year for Ervin Santana

It's a different Opening Day this year for Ervin Santana

At his time last year, the Twins were reeling from the 80-game drug suspension that was handed out the weekend before games began. "Bad times," he said. "But God only knows why things happen"
Twins major leaguers-in-waiting: Berrios, Kepler lead a talented list

Twins major leaguers-in-waiting: Berrios, Kepler lead a talented list

The latest wave of prospects, including pitcher Jose Berrios and outfielder Max Kepler, will be only a phone call away as the Twins expect a talented group of minor leaguers to play a role in 2016.
Houston's Carlos Correa wowed Twins officials

Houston's Carlos Correa wowed Twins officials

Astros shortstop Carlos Correa is everything you'd want in a budding star - and the Twins knew it back in 2012.
Twins want to avoid their recent trend of slow starts

Twins want to avoid their recent trend of slow starts

Everyone remembers their 1-6 start of a year ago and how it contributed to a 10-12 record in April. But it's just the latest in a Twins trend.
Dozier continues strong finish to spring as Twins win seventh straight

Dozier continues strong finish to spring as Twins win seventh straight

Over his past four games, Dozier is 6-for-13 with five runs scored and two RBI. He's not the only one hitting well lately for the Twins.
Twins aggressive early in winning seventh straight

Twins aggressive early in winning seventh straight

Brian Dozier and Danny Santana lead Twins' charge to early 3-0 lead.
Duffey, Nolasco both fail to impress in final spring audition

Duffey, Nolasco both fail to impress in final spring audition

Tyler Duffey offered an uneven performance, giving up four runs over four innings on four hits with three walks and two strikeouts. The Twins rallied to win 6-4.
Duffey vs. Nolasco: Young pitcher makes case for fifth starter spot

Duffey vs. Nolasco: Young pitcher makes case for fifth starter spot

Tyler Duffey will pitch Monday vs. Pittsburgh while veteran Ricky Nolasco will face a team of Baltimore minor-leaguers as their battle for a rotation spot is about to conclude.
Twins roster is coming into focus

Twins roster is coming into focus

Setting the bullpen and the rotation will come down to the final games of spring training.

Twins day at camp: Sano might have dented wall on double

One of the loudest sounds on Saturday happened when Miguel Sano squared up a pitch and drove it hard off the wall in left field for a double.
Pressly appears on rise out of Twins bullpen

Pressly appears on rise out of Twins bullpen

The righthander has recovered from a lat strain that cost him the final three months of last season. He has proved this spring that he's healthy and his stuff is as sharp as ever.

Minor-leaguer Palka belts two HRs for Twins in split squad win over Phillies

Daniel Palka was one of eight players brought over from the minor leagues Tuesday.
Twins lose to Yankees; Sano makes costly error in right

Twins lose to Yankees; Sano makes costly error in right

After a Sano fielding flub during their 6-4 loss to the Yankees on Sunday, Twins manager Paul Molitor was not concerned about how raw his new right fielder might be.
Morneau facing another lengthy rehab after off-season elbow surgery

Morneau facing another lengthy rehab after off-season elbow surgery

The 2008 AL MVP had elbow surgery during the offseason and won't be able to swing a bat until June. He's a free agent and is still hoping to play again.
Twins score most runs of spring, crush Orioles 14-5

Twins score most runs of spring, crush Orioles 14-5

Twins manager Paul Molitor saw some things he liked on Sunday during a 14-5 rout of the Orioles at Hammond Stadium.
Twins blast Orioles 14-5

Twins blast Orioles 14-5

Ricky Nolasco, fighting for a spot in the rotation, put the team in a 3-0 hole but recovered.
South Korea's MLB pipeline is growing

South Korea's MLB pipeline is growing

Their relationship with major league baseball has gotten only stronger in the past 10 years.
Twins lose to previously winless Baltimore 8-1

Twins lose to previously winless Baltimore 8-1

Someone had to lose to Baltimore before spring training ended. It just happened to be the Twins.
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