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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
Limit on number of relievers? Molitor calls it 'a little funny'

Limit on number of relievers? Molitor calls it 'a little funny'

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred reacted positively when a fan suggested reducing the number of relief pitchers used in an inning or game.
Gibson's strong outing holds up as Twins top Boston 2-1

Gibson's strong outing holds up as Twins top Boston 2-1

Behind Kyle Gibson's eight innings of two-hit baseball, the Twins shook off a blowout loss on Thursday by beating the Red Sox on Friday night.
Ortiz tees off on Twins in 13-2 Red Sox victory

Ortiz tees off on Twins in 13-2 Red Sox victory

The David Ortiz farewell tour continued to be a success with his 527th career home run Thursday night. Big Papi went 3-for-5 with four RBI to add to his gaudy career numbers against his former team.
Buxton's slump postpones his Fenway Park debut

Buxton's slump postpones his Fenway Park debut

Twins outfielder Byron Buxton practiced on fielding baseballs off the Green Monster, but putting those skills to work will have to wait.
Antony, Molitor compare notes as trade deadline approaches

Antony, Molitor compare notes as trade deadline approaches

Rob Antony and Paul Molitor have had several conversations as the Aug. 1 nonwaiver trade deadline approaches. Antony has spoken with several teams about potential trades.
Early, late home runs back Santana in Twins victory over Detroit

Early, late home runs back Santana in Twins victory over Detroit

Joe Mauer opened the scoring with a home run in the first inning and Max Kepler and Eddie Rosario added homers in the ninth to aid Ervin Santana's seven solid innings.
Milone's hot start gives Twins first victory of season over Detroit

Milone's hot start gives Twins first victory of season over Detroit

Twins pitcher Tommy Milone took a one-hitter into the eighth inning before weakening in the ninth. But he still won his third straight start.
Nolasco's effort wasted as Twins fall to Tigers

Nolasco's effort wasted as Twins fall to Tigers

Justin Upton's solo homer off Ricky Nolasco in the second inning resulted in the game's only run.
Bittersweet opportunity for Twins' Antony

Bittersweet opportunity for Twins' Antony

The interim GM has climbed up the Twins' ranks since being hired as a media intern in 1988.
Home groan: Twins have trouble drafting and developing starting pitchers

Home groan: Twins have trouble drafting and developing starting pitchers

Despite efforts by the organization to improve its scouting, drafting and development of starters, the Twins have not seen one of their draft picks blossom into a capable starter in some time.
'Surprised' Carew to have AL batting title in his name

'Surprised' Carew to have AL batting title in his name

Prior to the All-Star Game, MLB announced the AL batting title will now be named for former Twin and seven-time batting champ Rod Carew. The NL award will be named after Tony Gwynn.
Royals leave their mark on All-Star Game victory

Royals leave their mark on All-Star Game victory

Kansas City's Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez homered in a six-pitch span off former teammate Johnny Cueto in the second inning to guide the American League to a 4-2 victory.
Only Twins' All-Star? Nunez has lots of company in San Diego

Only Twins' All-Star? Nunez has lots of company in San Diego

Being able to a share his first All-State Game selection with a couple of his former Yankees teammates and other baseball friends enhances everything, the Twins' infielder said.
Santana sizzles from start to finish in 2-hit shutout

Santana sizzles from start to finish in 2-hit shutout

Ervin Santana was lights-out on clear day. Wednesday's gem was his first complete game shutout since June 16, 2012 against Arizona. For the Twins, it was the first complete game shutout since Andrew Albers in 2013.
Twins handle quick turnaround after late finish

Twins handle quick turnaround after late finish

The Twins technically won two games Wednesday, since Tuesday's delayed game ended around 1 a.m.
Long delay worth the wait as Twins rout Athletics

Long delay worth the wait as Twins rout Athletics

They blew out the A's after waiting nearly three hours for the rain to subside.
Nunez is Twins' lone All-Star

Nunez is Twins' lone All-Star

The team insisted he earned it and didn't land there because the rules say somebody must.
Twins put righthander Kevin Jepsen up for assignment

Twins put righthander Kevin Jepsen up for assignment

The club has 10 days to trade or release the nine-year veteran, whose $5.3 million salary won't help his value in a potential trade, before exposing him to waivers.
Max Kepler's record day powers Twins past Rangers

Max Kepler's record day powers Twins past Rangers

The RBI total in a blowout win set a Twins rookie record. Kepler helped the Twins achieve their highest run total since they scored 20 against the Tigers on Aug. 22, 2014.
Eduardo Escobar injures hamstring, is day-to-day

Eduardo Escobar injures hamstring, is day-to-day

Escobar injured his left hamstring as he slid across home plate in the first inning. He returned to the field in the second but grimaced in pain moments after he made contact on a flyout in the bottom of the inning.
Another Abad miscue sends Twins to another defeat

Another Abad miscue sends Twins to another defeat

He gave up a 10th-inning homer after the Twins wasted earlier chances.
MLB Insider: Indians fans hoping for a title, another parade

MLB Insider: Indians fans hoping for a title, another parade

And the Cleveland rotation might just be good enough to deliver one.
Surgery reveals Perkins had more shoulder damage than thought

Surgery reveals Perkins had more shoulder damage than thought

Glen Perkins' labrum had to be reattached to the bone during surgery Thursday. In many cases, that means around eight months for recovery.
A good surprise: Grossman has given Twins a spark

A good surprise: Grossman has given Twins a spark

With the Twins in need of outfield help, Robbie Grossman is taking advantage of an opportunity he didn't initially see in Minnesota.
Twins remain concerned with Buxton's strikeouts

Twins remain concerned with Buxton's strikeouts

Over his past 43 plate appearances, he has struck out 19 times, including seven times over the first three games of the series against the Yankees.
Plouffe's sweet slide ends another Twins losing slide

Plouffe's sweet slide ends another Twins losing slide

Trevor Plouffe avoided a tag to score in the fourth inning, helping the Twins to a 7-4 victory over the Yankees that ended a five-game losing streak.
Twins agree to terms with first-round draft pick

Twins agree to terms with first-round draft pick

The Twins have reached an agreement with outfielder Alex Kirilloff, their first-round pick from the June 9 draft, according to a source with knowledge of the talks.
Milone returns to Twins with aggressive approach

Milone returns to Twins with aggressive approach

A victim of the Twins' roster shake-up in May, Tommy Milone also floated through waivers unclaimed and was outrighthed to Class AAA Rochester on May 7.
Twins watch four-run lead melt into fifth straight loss

Twins watch four-run lead melt into fifth straight loss

New York scored all its runs over the final three innings and held on to win 7-6. The Twins have lost five consecutive games for the fourth time this season.
Santana keeps digging a hole, Twins can't get out in 5-4 loss

Santana keeps digging a hole, Twins can't get out in 5-4 loss

Ervin Santana gave up five runs and 10 hits to the Angels in five innings on Tuesday, and the Twins' Opening Day starter now has a 7.71 ERA in his last five starts. "They just seemed to get a lot of good swings," manager Paul Molitor said.
Dozier's average climbing as he starts pulling the ball less

Dozier's average climbing as he starts pulling the ball less

The second baseman batted .341 during the Twins' 10-game homestand and has a .231 average after Monday night's victory over the Angels.
Twins show their best again against Angels

Twins show their best again against Angels

Ricky Nolasco pitched six solid innings and Byron Buxton was among three Twins who homered in the 9-4 victory.
Twins select outfielder Alex Kirilloff with 15th pick in MLB draft

Twins select outfielder Alex Kirilloff with 15th pick in MLB draft

High school outfielder Alex Kirilloff is considered a bat-first prospect whose offense will be his ticket to the majors with the Twins.
Uncertainty at No. 15 leaves Twins first-round selection wide open

Uncertainty at No. 15 leaves Twins first-round selection wide open

There are some good high school arms and a few good college position players eligible for the MLB first-year player draft, but the consensus is no one stands out from the pack.
Twins debut new closing plan in 7-5 win over Marlins

Twins debut new closing plan in 7-5 win over Marlins

Trevor Plouffe and Brian Dozier delivered key hits for the Twins, who now have a closer by committee in Brandon Kintzler and Fernando Abad.
Gardenhire pays Twins a visit at Target Field

Gardenhire pays Twins a visit at Target Field

The former manager has watched many Twins games on television, and knows what his successor, Paul Molitor, is going through this trying season.
Interim Twins pitching coach Eric Rasmussen hardly had time to pack

Interim Twins pitching coach Eric Rasmussen hardly had time to pack

Rasmussen, the Twins minor league pitching coordinator since 2009, is the interim pitching coach while Neil Allen remains on indefinite suspension after his arrest on suspicion of drunken driving. Rasmussen was the Fort Myers pitching coach from 1999 to 2008.
Rays ruin Nolasco's strong start, sink Twins 4-2

Rays ruin Nolasco's strong start, sink Twins 4-2

Nolasco coasted into the eighth inning against the Rays, when he gave up three singles to yield the go-ahead run.
Twins notes: Sano's return from hamstring injury won't be rushed

Twins notes: Sano's return from hamstring injury won't be rushed

Miguel Sano has a moderate strain of his left hamstring, and Twins General Manager Terry Ryan said Friday that the right fielder will need longer than the minimum 15 days on the disabled list to recover.
Fifteen hits and fine relief give Twins a win over Tampa Bay

Fifteen hits and fine relief give Twins a win over Tampa Bay

Eduardo Nunez hit an inside-the-park home run and every player in the batting order had a hit as the Twins rallied after Phil Hughes was knocked out in the fifth inning.
Sore back postpones Gibson's expected return to Twins

Sore back postpones Gibson's expected return to Twins

The Twins want to make sure Kyle Gibson, who is 0-3 with a 6.10 ERA, has enough endurance to throw 90 pitches in a game before he's activated.
Kyle Gibson has sore back; Hughes will start tonight against Rays

Kyle Gibson has sore back; Hughes will start tonight against Rays

Gibson was to make his first start since April 22 after recovering from shoulder soreness, but the Twins announced this morning that his back is bothering him.
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.
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