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
Twins starter Stephen Gonsalves, making his major league debut against the White Sox, headed to the dugout after pitching only 1⅓ innings Monday nig

Best thing about rookie Gonsalves' Twins debut: It's over

Left-hander Stephen Gonsalves admitted to a case of nerves before and during Monday's 8-5 loss to the White Sox. He was knocked out in the second inning.
Twins reliever Trevor Hildenberger has finished the past five games he has appeared in, going 1-1 with three saves.

Reliever Hildenberger adjusts following a run of home runs

Trevor Hildenberger is, outing by outing, distancing himself from a rough stretch in which he gave up home runs in four consecutive appearances.
Jorge Polanco, left, congratulated Logan Forsythe, who had five hits in the Twins' 15-8 crushing of the Tigers at Target Field on Thursday night.

Forsythe's 5-for-5, homers by Polanco, Sano lead 15-run assault on Tigers

The Twins knocked out Francisco Liriano with eight runs in the first two innings and then broke open a one-run game with a huge sixth inning.
The Twins, in the coming weeks, plan to keep moving their outfielders such as Max Kepler around so they will be prepared for any situation.

Twins moving their outfielders about — because chance exists

The Twins, in the coming weeks, plan to keep moving their outfielders around so they will be prepared for any situation.
The Twins know Tyler Austin has plenty of power in his 6-2 inch, 220-pound frame — and they hope to get more of it out of him.

Ex-Yankee Austin hopes to add power to Twins lineup

The Twins know there's plenty of power in Tyler Austin's 6-2, 220-pound frame — and they hope to get more of it out of him.
Former No. 1 pick Kohl Stewart was pulled in the fifth inning of his debut. He allowed three runs.

Stewart has mixed results in debut as Twins lose to Tigers

Kohl Stewart's major league debut in Detroit was going fine until the fifth inning, when he lost one long battle and then lost his focus.
Minnesota Twins' Logan Forsythe pine tars his bat during the first inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018, in D

'Utility hitter' Forsythe adds versatility to Twins lineup

In just 11 games with the Twins, second baseman Logan Forsythe has batted in six different spots ion the Twins' batting order.
Twins relief pitcher Trevor Hildenberger is hugged by catcher Bobby Wilson after his first save of the year

Home run allowed tarnishes Hildenberger's save

Trevor Hildenberger allowed two hits - including a home run, but got the next three outs for his second major league save in the same yard he got his first last season: Comerica Park.
Jose Iglesias connects for a two-run home run during the fifth inning against the Twins.

Santana allows three hits, two home runs as Twins open series with loss at Detroit

Ervin Santana, making his fourth start since returning from finger surgery in February, gave up just three hits and walked two. But two of the three hits were home runs.
Twins relief pitcher Fernando Rodney was traded to Oakland on Thursday night.

Closer Rodney traded to Oakland; Mejia goes on disabled list

The Twins received a hard-throwing minor-league pitcher who pitched only twice this season before suffering a season-ending injury. They also put Adalberto Mejia on the disabled list.
Francisco Lindor drove in three runs Thursday for Cleveland.

Frustration grows after Twins lose 5-4 in another walkoff

The Indians snapped a 4-4 tie in ninth on Michael Brantley's game-winning hit, ending a game in which the Twins were frustrated by more than the final score.
Jose Berrios is 8-2 with a 2.79 ERA during night games and 3-6 with a 4.77 ERA during day games.

Day games have been a bother for Twins' Berrios

Twins starter Jose Berrios is 8-2 with a 2.79 ERA during night games this season and 3-6 with a 4.77 ERA during day games.
Minnesota Twins' Eddie Rosario watches his double off Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco during the fourth inning of a baseball game T

Rosario is the Twins' new Everyday Eddie

Eddie Rosario made his 75th consecutive start of the season Wednesday, batting second and playing left field.
Adalberto Mejia

Mejia dazzles before injury; Twins hang on to beat Cleveland

Adalberto Mejia left Tuesday night's rain-delayed game after five innings with a three-run lead and a strained left wrist. Up until his last pitch, he was aggressive and efficient.
Twins manager Paul Molitor waited for reliever Matt Belisle to replace Matt Magill during a game against the Royals on July 10.

Twins reinstate Magill, put Belisle on the disabled list

To make room for Matt Magill, righthander Matt Belisle was put on the 10-day disabled list because of a sore right knee.
Minnesota Twins' Logan Forsythe (24) and Max Kepler (26) collide as Forsythe catches a ball hit by Cleveland Indians' Jose Ramirez in the first inning

Sweep dreams? Twins illusions shattered in 10-0 loss at Cleveland

If the Twins thought they'd bull their way back into the division race during their four-game series in Cleveland, that idea was quickly laid to rest in an ugly 10-0 loss.
Trevor Bauer

Monday's Twins-Cleveland game recap

The Twins were blown out by the Indians on Monday in Cleveland.
Johnny Field

Grossman goes on disabled list; Twins call up recently acquired outfielder

Johnny Field was claimed off waivers on Friday after batting .213 for Tampa Bay with six home runs.
Ervin Santana pitched against Cleveland on Monday.

Will Santana be the next player traded?

August might be a busy month of deals, even though players will have to go through waivers. Ervin Santana isn't the only Twins player who could find a new home.
(From left) LUIS RIJO, 19, pitcher traded from N.Y. Yankees. Assigned to rookie league Elizabethton; JORGE ALCALA, 23, pitcher traded from Houston. As

Trades provide Twins farm system players packed with potential

Their attention turned to the future, the Twins loaded up by landing 11 minor leaguers in return for Eduardo Escobar, Brian Dozier and three other veterans.
Byron Buxton has returned to the disabled list at Class AAA Rochester because of wrist problems.

Buxton shut down by wrist again. Is he done for the season?

Center fielder Byron Buxton was placed on the disabled list at Class AAA Rochester on Wednesday because of a continuing issue with his left wrist.
Former Twins second baseman Brian Dozier arrived in Los Angeles in time to suit up for the Dodgers against the Brewers on Tuesday night. Dozier spent

Dozier: Drafted by the Twins, developed by the Twins, traded by the Twins

With an expiring contract on a team with a losing record, Brian Dozier knew his time in Minnesota was coming to an end.
Trevor May pitched for the Twins against the Indians during the ninth inning Tuesday, after going 683 days between major league appearances.

May finds a personal victory in Twins' 6-2 loss to Cleveland

He thought about his rehab and what it took to come back from Tommy John surgery on March 22, 2017 -- and 683 days in between major league appearances.
(Clockwise, from top) The Twins' Brian Dozier, Zach Duke and Lance Lynn could be on the block as the trading deadline nears.

Twins' Dozier, Lynn and Duke on trading block as deadline nears

After trading Eduardo Escobar and Ryan Pressly on Friday — receiving a total of five prospects in return — the Twins would like to make the best of a disappointing season, continue to add to their inventory of prospects and look ahead to the offseason.
National Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Jack Morris speaks during an induction ceremony at the Clark Sports Center on Sunday, July 29, 2018, in Cooper

'Hello, Cooperstown!' Morris joins baseball's elite as St. Paul's third Hall of Famer

Jack Morris looked out at one of the largest crowds to ever watch the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, and blurted out a two-word opening that was corny but intended to keep him calm.
Jim Thome teared up as his daughter, Lila, sang the national anthem during the National Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cooperstown, N.Y.,

Thome took plenty from his Twins years

The slugger fondly recalled his short stint in Minnesota, during which he hit his 600th career home run.
Jack Morris signs the spot where his Hall of Fame plaque will hang, at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Hall of Fame induction day arrives for Jack Morris

"It's a special group of guys, it really is," Jack Morris said of going into the Hall of Fame on Sunday with Alan Trammell, Jim Thome, Vladimir Guerrero, Trevor Hoffman and Chipper Jones.
Jack Morris checked out an exhibit during his tour of the Hall of Fame in February.

MLB insider: Carew, Brett helped Morris make Hall of Fame

George Brett and Rob Carew were persuasive when Jack Morris' candidacy came before the Modern Era Committee.
The power pitcher: Morris makes his way into baseball's Hall of Fame

The power pitcher: Morris makes his way into baseball's Hall of Fame

Jack Morris has found a way to summarize a career that included 254 wins, 175 complete games, 28 shutouts — and perhaps the greatest Game 7 performance in sports history. He'll deliver Sunday in Cooperstown..
The Royals' Drew Butera slid into home ahead of the tag of Twins catcher Mitch Garver after hitting a three-run, inside-the-park home run during the s

Twins' second half starts miserably with sweep by Royals

A three-run, inside-the-park homer by former Twin Drew Butera seals team's fate in 5-3 loss.
Twins righthander Ervin Santana has finally recovered from finger surgery and will make his 2018 debut on Wednesday at Toronto.

Santana makes long-awaited 2018 Twins debut Wednesday at Toronto

Santana went through a longer-than-expected recovery following surgery in early February to remove a calcium deposit from his right middle finger.
Twins starting pitcher Ervin Santana

Twins expect to activate Santana soon

Ervin Santana will throw in the bullpen Sunday while the Twins decide when they will activate the veteran starter from the 60-day disabled list.
Kansas City Royals' Hunter Dozier, right, congratulates teammates Jorge Bonifacio (38) and Whit Merrifield (15) during the first inning Friday night.

Twins make it close but look like sellers in loss to Royals

The Twins on Friday night returned from the All-Star break and put up a late rally but ultimately lost again to the last-place Royals.
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.
Read our comment standards

StarTribune.com welcomes and encourages readers to comment and engage in substantive, mutually respectful exchanges over news topics. Commenters must follow our Terms of Use.

  1. Keep it civil and stay on topic.
  2. No profanity, vulgarity, racial slurs or personal attacks.
  3. Comments with web links are not permitted.
  4. Comments that violate the above will be removed. Repeat violators may lose their commenting privileges on StarTribune.com.

Comments will be reviewed before being published.

More from Star Tribune