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
What to keep an eye on as spring games begin for Twins

What to keep an eye on as spring games begin for Twins

Now that the games have started in Florida, Paul Molitor and the Twins coaching staff will look to keep the team in line while monitoring several position battles and other issues.
Odorizzi joins Twins while drawing high praise

Odorizzi joins Twins while drawing high praise

Chris Archer, now Jake Odorizzi's former Rays teammate, promises that the Twins are getting more than a midrotation stabilizer.
Odorizzi fills a need for Twins, just not biggest one

Odorizzi fills a need for Twins, just not biggest one

The Twins didn't get the ace they want but got a solid rotation piece.
Twins willing to give veteran Sanchez a low-risk look

Twins willing to give veteran Sanchez a low-risk look

Anibal Sanchez is 28-35 with a 5.15 ERA over his past four seasons. He has been demoted to the bullpen, then to the minors. At age 34, he might not have much left to offer as a pitcher.
MLB's pace of play proposals rile Twins

MLB's pace of play proposals rile Twins

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred is prepared to announce pace-of-play changes in time for spring training games that begin next Friday — with or without union support.
Twins sign veteran pitcher Sanchez for spring training tryout

Twins sign veteran pitcher Sanchez for spring training tryout

Anibal Sanchez, 33, pitched a no-hitter for the Marlins in 2006. Last season for the Tigers he was 3-7 with a 6.41 ERA for Detroit last season.
Introductions in order on Day 1 of Twins camp

Introductions in order on Day 1 of Twins camp

The first spring training workout of pitchers and catchers often is spent trying to figure out what new players are in camp. This year for the Twins, the turnover among the major and minor league coaching staffs is obvious.
Levine: Sano will report on time, cleared for baseball activities

Levine: Sano will report on time, cleared for baseball activities

Miguel Sano will report to Twins training camp Sunday with the rest of the position players while still being investigated by MLB for an alleged assault of a freelance photographer.
New Twins pitching coach looking for whatever works best

New Twins pitching coach looking for whatever works best

Garvin Alston plans to help each of the pitchers realize what works for them, then use that knowledge to try to shut down hitters.
Rays' Archer in Twins' sights as spring training nears

Rays' Archer in Twins' sights as spring training nears

After failing to land Yu Darvish, who ended up signing with the Cubs, the Twins are looking at several other free-agent pitchers, as well as exploring trades with multiple teams.
Position by position look at the 2018 Twins

Position by position look at the 2018 Twins

What everyone will be watching when the Twins kick off spring training this week in Florida.
Perkins, Levine discuss front office role with Twins

Perkins, Levine discuss front office role with Twins

The Twins already have Torii Hunter, Michael Cuddyer, LaTroy Hawkins and Justin Morneau as special assistants to baseball operations, but they will discuss adding recently retired Glen Perkins.
Twins reliever Perkins retiring after 12 MLB seasons

Twins reliever Perkins retiring after 12 MLB seasons

Glen Perkins has been quiet since the end of the season, but general manager Thad Levine said on the Twins Caravan that the three-time All Star has decided to retire.
End of the road? Several Vikings veterans mulling retirement

End of the road? Several Vikings veterans mulling retirement

Thirtysomethings Newman, Berger, Robison to weigh pros and cons of return.
Twins, Gibson appear headed to arbitration over $355,000 dispute

Twins, Gibson appear headed to arbitration over $355,000 dispute

Unable to reach an agreement on a contract for this season, Kyle Gibson and the Twins are headed to arbitration sometime next month.
Johan Santana elected to Minnesota Twins' Hall of Fame

Johan Santana elected to Minnesota Twins' Hall of Fame

Santana won two Cy Young Awards with the Twins and was named three times to the American League All-Star team.
Jim Kaat will join Twins as special assistant

Jim Kaat will join Twins as special assistant

The 79-year-old broadcaster pitched 25 seasons in the major leagues, including 15 with the Twins organization.
Justin Morneau officially retires, joins Twins as special assistant

Justin Morneau officially retires, joins Twins as special assistant

"I was fortunate to live my dream every day," said Justin Morneau, 36, the former Twins first baseman who was the American League MVP in 2006.
Twins agree to terms with veteran lefthander Duke

Twins agree to terms with veteran lefthander Duke

The reliever had Tommy John surgery in October 2016 but returned to the major leagues last July.
Twins have interest in Napoli for hitting, clubhouse presence

Twins have interest in Napoli for hitting, clubhouse presence

The Twins have contacted Mike Napoli's agent about a contract for 2018, in hopes of reaching a deal that the veteran turned down last year when he went to Texas.
Twins are still part of the Yu Darvish sweepstakes

Twins are still part of the Yu Darvish sweepstakes

It could be another month before free-agent pitcher makes a decision.
Twins take Tyler Kinley in Rule 5 Draft, lose Burdi and Bard

Twins take Tyler Kinley in Rule 5 Draft, lose Burdi and Bard

With the third overall pick, the Phillies selected righthander Nick Burdi, the Twins' 46th overall pick in 2014.
Bullseye: Twins to sign veteran reliever Rodney

Bullseye: Twins to sign veteran reliever Rodney

Fernando Rodney, who will be 41 on Opening Day, is headed for his 16th major league season and will play for his ninth team. He had 39 saves for Arizona last season.
Winter Confidential: Day 3 with the Twins at the winter meetings

Winter Confidential: Day 3 with the Twins at the winter meetings

Word spread on Tuesday when it was learned that righthander Tyler Chatwood had a clause in his contract that calls for a $2 million salary increase, from $12 million to $14 million, if he received one — one! — vote for Cy Young.
Twins trying to sort out their options for closing games

Twins trying to sort out their options for closing games

The team is interested in veteran Fernando Rodney and former closer Brandon Kintzler among others, while knowing that a future closer could already be in the organization.
Restocking their system gives Twins some trade pieces this winter

Restocking their system gives Twins some trade pieces this winter

Trading for a starting pitcher could require multiple prospects — and the Twins might have enough to make things interesting after acquiring young talent over the last several months.
Morris tells writers no hard feelings over years of Hall of Fame snubs

Morris tells writers no hard feelings over years of Hall of Fame snubs

Jack Morris and Alan Trammell went through 15 years of rejection by baseball writers on their ballots before they were voted in by a 16-person Hall of Fame committee.
Twins have new look, new attitude heading into winter meetings

Twins have new look, new attitude heading into winter meetings

With an emerging core of position players, Twins executives head to Florida this week for the annual winter meetings looking to make moves that could help them gain ground in the American League
Jack Morris gets another shot at Baseball Hall of Fame

Jack Morris gets another shot at Baseball Hall of Fame

After falling short on the writers' ballot, his candidacy goes before the veterans committee.
Twins get prospects from Mariners, Angels for international bonus money

Twins get prospects from Mariners, Angels for international bonus money

If the Mariners or Angels end up landing Japanese star Shohei Ohtani, they can thank the Twins.
Twins offer contracts to all their arbitration-eligible players

Twins offer contracts to all their arbitration-eligible players

Kyle Gibson, Eduardo Escobar among six players in line to return in 2018.
Japanese star Ohtani will not sign with Twins

Japanese star Ohtani will not sign with Twins

The Japanese pitcher-outfielder is mostly showing interest in teams on the West Coast.
Twins hiring McClure as senior pitching adviser; Park departing

Twins hiring McClure as senior pitching adviser; Park departing

Former major leaguer Bob McClure will join the Twins as their senior pitching adviser, according to a source with knowledge of the hire.
Pitching appears to top Twins' priority list as free agency opens

Pitching appears to top Twins' priority list as free agency opens

Entering their second year in charge, Twins' baseball executives have made sweeping changes to every area of the organization — except to improve the roster.
Twins lose Rosario, Palka to waiver claims

Twins lose Rosario, Palka to waiver claims

The Twins lost a pair of players who had been highly regarded in recent years.
Twins expect Sano will be 'full go' for 2018 opener after surgery

Twins expect Sano will be 'full go' for 2018 opener after surgery

After waiting a month following the Twins' final game, general manager Thad Levine said Miguel Sano's left shin had not improved much.
Twins pitchers and catchers report to spring training Feb. 13

Twins pitchers and catchers report to spring training Feb. 13

One day after the World Series ended, the Twins are thinking about next year.Pitchers and catchers report to Fort Myers, Fla., on Feb. 13, with…
Gardenhire lures Twins' bench coach Joe Vavra to Detroit

Gardenhire lures Twins' bench coach Joe Vavra to Detroit

Just when the Twins thought their coaching staff for 2018 was in place, along comes Ron Gardenhire.
Twins name Garvin Alston pitching coach

Twins name Garvin Alston pitching coach

Alston, 45, was the pitching rehab coordinator for the San Diego Padres last season and was Arizona's bullpen coach in 2016.
Dozier is Twins' MVP again, Santana named top pitcher

Dozier is Twins' MVP again, Santana named top pitcher

Second baseman Brian Dozier also was a repeat winner of the Bob Allison Award for determination and leadership on and off the field.
Ex-Cubs pitching coach Bosio could join friend Molitor with Twins

Ex-Cubs pitching coach Bosio could join friend Molitor with Twins

The former Cubs pitching coach was teammates with Paul Molitor.
Twins buy out Perkins' 2018 option, making him a free agent

Twins buy out Perkins' 2018 option, making him a free agent

If the Twins don't invite Glen Perkins to training camp, he'll need to decide whether to try hooking on with another team after spending his 14-year career with one organization.
Twins looking at Willis, Hickey for pitching coach position

Twins looking at Willis, Hickey for pitching coach position

The former Twins pitcher and ex-Rays coach Jim Hickey are among the top choices to take over Neil Allen's job.
Molitor, Falvey built relationship even if it wasn't 'love at first sight'

Molitor, Falvey built relationship even if it wasn't 'love at first sight'

Twins owner Jim Pohlad said he monitored how manager Paul Molitor and the team's top baseball executives worked together this season and liked what he saw.
Twins' turnaround gets Molitor new three-year contract

Twins' turnaround gets Molitor new three-year contract

Pitching coach Neil Allen has been let go and the Twins have not yet announced the future of the rest of Paul Molitor's coaching staff.
Twins fire pitching coach Allen after announcing Molitor's new deal

Twins fire pitching coach Allen after announcing Molitor's new deal

Allen was at his home in Sarasota, Fla., when he was informed by the club that he would not be brought back.
No movement yet on deal for Twins manager Paul Molitor

No movement yet on deal for Twins manager Paul Molitor

The manager is in contract talks, but no announcement was made.
Molitor and Twins are working on new deal

Molitor and Twins are working on new deal

After the manager lead the team into the AL wild-card game, Twins bosses Derek Falvey and Thad Levine want the 61-year-old to return for 2018.
With Twins season over, how much change ahead?

With Twins season over, how much change ahead?

The future of manager Paul Molitor - and all Twins coaches - are being considered by bosses Derek Falvey and That Levine.
Buxton's injury leads to Granite's opportunity — and big mistake

Buxton's injury leads to Granite's opportunity — and big mistake

Twins centerfielder Byron Buxton made a spectacular catch in the second inning, but left the game in the fourth. Zack Granite replaced him, and made a crucial baserunning error.
'Big-time arms': Twins in for a battle with Yankees' bullpen

'Big-time arms': Twins in for a battle with Yankees' bullpen

The Yankees have at least three relievers who would likely be closers on most other major league teams
Twins lose but Santana shines in five-inning start in Cleveland

Twins lose but Santana shines in five-inning start in Cleveland

Ervin Santana was sharp for the Twins as he prepared for his wild card start on Tuesday.
Twins clinch AL wild card despite 4-2 loss

Twins clinch AL wild card despite 4-2 loss

Jorge Polanco's two-run shot in the top of the ninth was the only offense Minnesota could muster Wednesday, but they secured a playoff spot when the White Sox beat the Angels.
Twins 'hopeful' after still injured Sano takes 60 swings

Twins 'hopeful' after still injured Sano takes 60 swings

Miguel Sano, recovering from a stress reaction in his left shin, took 60 swings at Target Field on Wednesday. It's the first time he's done anything baseball-related in two weeks.
Twins magic number down to 1 after dramatic victory in Cleveland

Twins magic number down to 1 after dramatic victory in Cleveland

Brian Dozier launched a fastball into the seats in the eighth inning for a three-run homer to put the Twins, who used 10 pitchers in the 8-6 victory, on the doorstep of a postseason berth.
Twins, Indians both have postseason goals within reach

Twins, Indians both have postseason goals within reach

The Twins are within reach to clinch the AL's second wild card, while the Indians are after baseball's best record.
Twins in driver's seat for wild-card berth entering season's final week

Twins in driver's seat for wild-card berth entering season's final week

The twins are on the verge of being the first team to lose 100 games and make the playoffs the following season. It could happen tonight.
With Sano out, Escobar surprised by his burst of power

With Sano out, Escobar surprised by his burst of power

The Twins infielder belted a three-run homer during the Twins' five-run sixth inning that helped them put the Tigers away 10-4 on Sunday.
Eight-run eighth inning lifts playoff-minded Twins to victory over Detroit

Eight-run eighth inning lifts playoff-minded Twins to victory over Detroit

The Twins on Saturday couldn't do much vs. Tigers starter Matt Boyd, but feasted on the bullpen to win their third straight in Detroit and inch closer to a wild-card berth.
Twins shift international focus more to Latin America

Twins shift international focus more to Latin America

The Twins have casted their net worldwide to find players from Australia to South Africa. But that looks to be changing.
Gibson pitches Twins to victory over Detroit to pad wild-card lead

Gibson pitches Twins to victory over Detroit to pad wild-card lead

Behind seven effective innings from Kyle Gibson, the Twins beat Detroit and built their wild-card lead to 3½ games.
Molitor: Mauer will start every day the rest of the way for Twins

Molitor: Mauer will start every day the rest of the way for Twins

Twins manager Paul Molitor has preserved 34-year-old Joe Mauer to the point where he can be in the lineup every day as the Twins attempt to secure a playoff berth.
Twins open Wild Card lead to 2½ games as bats come alive in Detroit

Twins open Wild Card lead to 2½ games as bats come alive in Detroit

Clutch hits by the Twins were everywhere on Thursday in a 12-1 romp over Detroit. The Angels and Rangers are both 2 1/2 games behind Minnesota, which has nine games to play.
Twins batters drawing more walks than usual

Twins batters drawing more walks than usual

The Twins walked 10 times Thursday — a nine-inning season high — to push their total for the season to 570. They are on pace to be the third Twins team to draw more than 600 walks in a season.

Twins fire international scouting coordinator Howard Norsetter

It's the latest in a series of moves as Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey and General Manager Thad Levine continue to makeover the organization.
Twins overcome 5-0 deficit with power surge; Yankees up next

Twins overcome 5-0 deficit with power surge; Yankees up next

Eddie Rosario hit two home runs and Joe Mauer clubbed a grand slam Sunday for the Twins, who head to New York after rallying for a 13-7 victory over Toronto.
Horrible first inning almost doomed Gibson's start against Jays

Horrible first inning almost doomed Gibson's start against Jays

Kyle Gibson won his 11th game of the season on Sunday and has a chance to match his career high of 13 wins, but he was close to ruining it all because of two terrible innings.
Twins, Red Sox team up for Hurricane Irma relief

Twins, Red Sox team up for Hurricane Irma relief

The Twins and Red Sox are spring training neighbors. Each club is donating $100,000 to the Southwest Florida Community Organization, which will use the funds to help with hurricane recovery.
Long game, long gone: Rosario's 10th-inning blast gives Twins a win

Long game, long gone: Rosario's 10th-inning blast gives Twins a win

Eddie Rosario launched a two-run home run 430 feet over the right field foul pole Wednesday night, sending the Twins to a 3-1 extra-innings victory over San Diego.
Twins' Adalberto Mejia will return to rotation Saturday

Twins' Adalberto Mejia will return to rotation Saturday

Lefthander Adalberto Mejia, who has missed over a month because of a muscle strain in his upper arm, will return to the starting rotation…
Twins launch seven homers to wallop San Diego 16-0

Twins launch seven homers to wallop San Diego 16-0

The Twins belted a season-high seven home runs — one each in the first seven innings, an MLB first. Two were from Jason Castro, the fourth multi-homer game of his career.
Twins looking for spots to ease Miguel Sano back into lineup

Twins looking for spots to ease Miguel Sano back into lineup

Miguel Sano took early batting practice Tuesday, and manager Paul Molitor heard the familiar sound of baseballs exploding off the slugger's bat."He looked…
8 teams, 2 spots: La Velle E. Neal III breaks down the Wild Card race

8 teams, 2 spots: La Velle E. Neal III breaks down the Wild Card race

The two Wild Card survivors meet in a one-game playoff on October 3 (unless there's a playoff to determine which teams will advance to that playoff).
Known for his glove, Adrianza gaining prowess at the plate

Known for his glove, Adrianza gaining prowess at the plate

Wednesday marked Ehire Adrianza's second home run of the season and fifth of his career. He's batting .262, respectable off the bench, and his 23 RBI already are a career high.
Twins fall behind Angels in Wild Card race after comeback comes up short

Twins fall behind Angels in Wild Card race after comeback comes up short

After a ninth-inning rally came to an abrupt end, the Twins fell a half-game behind Los Angeles for the second Wild Card spot, with three other teams now trailing Minnesota by two games or less.
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