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
Support group helps Berrios settle in, beat Yankees for series win

Support group helps Berrios settle in, beat Yankees for series win

Pitching coach Neil Allen delivered a forceful lecture to Jose Berrios on the mound in the top of the second inning. Then the Twins offense broke open the game with six runs that also helped him settle in.
The end? Next start may decide whether 44-year-old Colon retires

The end? Next start may decide whether 44-year-old Colon retires

The 44-year-old pitcher had another rough outing on Tuesday, and is considering retirement, according to an ESPN report.
Twins' Polanco having a 'tough time' in the field, at the plate

Twins' Polanco having a 'tough time' in the field, at the plate

He's not taking quality at-bats, and it looks like he's trying to lift everything. He's struck out 17 times in his past 18 games after striking out 26 times over his previous 54.
Astros take advantage of wobbly Twins defense to win

Astros take advantage of wobbly Twins defense to win

Four of Houston's five runs in Sunday's victory over the Twins scored because Minnesota's defense came up short in an variety of ways.
Twins finally get the breaks, defeat Astros 4-2

Twins finally get the breaks, defeat Astros 4-2

The Twins' victory, thanks to a quirky double by Eddie Rosario, snapped a seven-game losing streak to Houston going back to last season.
Bartolo Colon will pitch for Twins on Tuesday vs. Yankees

Bartolo Colon will pitch for Twins on Tuesday vs. Yankees

HOUSTON – Next up: Bartolo Colon.The Twins announced on Saturday that Colon will make his Twins debut Tuesday when they play host to
Astros hitters pick up where they left off, dominating Twins

Astros hitters pick up where they left off, dominating Twins

Houston's eight-run second inning on Friday at Minute Maid Park had the Twins reliving bad memories of May routs by the Astros at Target Field.
Day for Colon's Twins debut uncertain

Day for Colon's Twins debut uncertain

Twins manager Paul Molitor said he hopes to know where Bartolo Colon's next outing will take place in the next couple of days.
Despite flaws, Twins think better baseball's ahead in second half

Despite flaws, Twins think better baseball's ahead in second half

As they return from the break, the Twins are 2½ games behind Cleveland in the American League Central. They'll start off with tough tests at Houston and against the Yankees.
Sano has a simple goal at Home Run Derby: win

Sano has a simple goal at Home Run Derby: win

Sano said he received advice from Brian Dozier, who participated in the derby in 2014 at Target Field, to take his time and not waste energy.
Gibson rocked as Twins mark All-Star break with another lopsided loss

Gibson rocked as Twins mark All-Star break with another lopsided loss

Kyle Gibson fell apart — twice in one game — and the offense stopped being a threat after the second inning. The Twins gave up 10 or more runs for the 12th time this season.
Rookie Granite makes fans, Twins take notice of him right away

Rookie Granite makes fans, Twins take notice of him right away

On Sunday, Zach Granite pulled off a Byron Buxton imitation when he raced back to the fence to make a leaping grab of Manny Machado's dangerous-looking drive.
Granite debuts for Twins with extended battle at-bat

Granite debuts for Twins with extended battle at-bat

Zack Granite battled Baltimore righthander Michael Givens in an 11-pitch encounter that ended with Granite flying out to left in his Major League at-bat.
Sano blasts 21st HR, but Twins miss chances in 5-1 loss to Orioles

Sano blasts 21st HR, but Twins miss chances in 5-1 loss to Orioles

The Twins left 11 runners on base Saturday, and were 0 for 4 with runners in scoring position. Jonathan Schoop and Mark Trumbo hit home runs for Baltimore.
Twins, Berrios ride one big inning to victory over Orioles

Twins, Berrios ride one big inning to victory over Orioles

After Thursday night's 6-4 victory over Baltimore, in which the Twins scored all of their runs in the third inning, Minnesota has won three of four since returning from a disappointing road trip.
Twins shift draft money allotment to help sign more players

Twins shift draft money allotment to help sign more players

By saving money at the top and bottom of the bonus pool recommended by the league, the Twins were able to sign some players who had the leverage of possibly going to college.
Mejia gets homestand started right as Twins top Angels

Mejia gets homestand started right as Twins top Angels

Mejia wins third consecutive start with seven strong innings vs. Angels
Carew receives warm welcome upon his return to Twin Cities

Carew receives warm welcome upon his return to Twin Cities

Carew, 71, took to the field under a standing ovation, making his first Minnesota appearance since undergoing a heart transplant on Dec. 16.
Twins back in first after shutting out Cleveland for second time in series

Twins back in first after shutting out Cleveland for second time in series

The Twins won in Cleveland again on Sunday afternoon, the first time they'd swept a three-game series in that city in more than a quarter-century.
Twins' Rosario gets well quickly, leads sweep into first place

Twins' Rosario gets well quickly, leads sweep into first place

A sinus infection and sore throat forced Eddie Rosario out of the starting lineup on Saturday. But on Sunday he felt much better. And it showed.
Twins are at their pesky best in 4-2 win over Cleveland

Twins are at their pesky best in 4-2 win over Cleveland

Two of meager five hits are clutch late-inning homers.
Twins' Max Kepler, Eddie Rosario are late lineup scratches

Twins' Max Kepler, Eddie Rosario are late lineup scratches

That left the team with a corner outfield tandem of Robbie Grossman and Chris Gimenez.
Mejia labors through Twins' 5-0 shutout of Indians

Mejia labors through Twins' 5-0 shutout of Indians

When lefthander Adalberto Mejia wasn't nibbling at the corners of the plate on Friday, he was missing by feet. The game was set up for the Indians to end Mejia's night with one big blow. But Mejia never let that hit happen.
Hildenberger, Gee added to Twins' long list of pitchers

Hildenberger, Gee added to Twins' long list of pitchers

They could use their 26th and 27th different pitchers of the season by the end of the weekend after calling up righthanders Trevor Hildenberger and Dillon Gee.
Berrios a well-oiled 'La Máquina' as Twins win second in a row

Berrios a well-oiled 'La Máquina' as Twins win second in a row

Jose Berrios' nickname is "La Máquina" — The Machine. And the machine was working perfectly Wednesday as Berrios devoured Chicago's lineup to raise his record to 7-1.
Glen Perkins comeback shut down for a week by tendinitis

Glen Perkins comeback shut down for a week by tendinitis

Glen Perkins, still on the comeback trail following surgery last year for a torn labrum, will be shut down one week because of biceps tendinitis.
Latest call-up Busenitz gave Twins some hope in MLB debut

Latest call-up Busenitz gave Twins some hope in MLB debut

At no point in his major league debut Saturday did Alan Busenitz calm down. "I couldn't tell if I was breathing," the Twins reliever said about coming in to face Cleveland.
'Learn from it.' Molitor looks ahead after Cleveland finishes off sweep

'Learn from it.' Molitor looks ahead after Cleveland finishes off sweep

Cleveland spent the weekend offering multiple reasons why it is superior to the Twins, finishing off a four-game sweep during the weekend takover of first place.
Sano comes up short all weekend against Cleveland

Sano comes up short all weekend against Cleveland

Migeul Sano was 2-for-15 with a walk in the four-game series with the Indians, hitting a handful of balls to the warning track.
Brent Rooker made good on second chance as Twins draft choice

Brent Rooker made good on second chance as Twins draft choice

The Mississippi State slugger is headed to Elizabethton to begin his pro career.
Cleveland opens four-game series with 8-1 romp of Twins

Cleveland opens four-game series with 8-1 romp of Twins

Nik Turley failed to supply a lift for a troubled Twins rotation.
Twins pumped for Central showdown with Indians: 'time to punch them in the mouth'

Twins pumped for Central showdown with Indians: 'time to punch them in the mouth'

The win allowed the Twins to salvage a split of the four-game series and set them up for an important four-game weekend series at home — including a Saturday doubleheader — against the Indians.
Twins top draft pick Royce Lewis could be close to signing

Twins top draft pick Royce Lewis could be close to signing

Shortstop Royce Lewis, the first overall pick by the Twins in Monday's MLB draft, was expected to arrive Thursday night in the Twin Cities for a physical exam Friday.
Twins don't expect 'any hiccups' in signing second-day draft picks

Twins don't expect 'any hiccups' in signing second-day draft picks

The money the Twins saved in Day 1 of the MLB draft will help land two LSU-committed players they selected on Day 2.
Twins pull surprise, spark debate by choosing Royce Lewis with top draft pick

Twins pull surprise, spark debate by choosing Royce Lewis with top draft pick

As expected, the Twins selected a prep star from California with the first overall pick of the Major League Baseball draft Monday. But it wasn't Hunter Greene.
Twins' Santiago wonders if WBC injury bug hit him, too

Twins' Santiago wonders if WBC injury bug hit him, too

Twins lefthander Hector Santiago wonders if pitching in the World Baseball Classic is the reason why he has landed on the disabled list for the first time in his seven-year big-league career.
Who's No. 1? Twins absorbing the data to help decide on top pick

Who's No. 1? Twins absorbing the data to help decide on top pick

When potential No. 1 pick Hunter Greene worked out for the Twins at Target Field last week, they collected all kinds of data that wouldn't have been nearly as easy to obtain otherwise.
The one? Greene is most intriguing option for Twins No. 1 pick

The one? Greene is most intriguing option for Twins No. 1 pick

The Twins are looking long and hard at Hunter Greene, the talented high school senior from California, as the No. 1 overall pick in Monday's MLB draft.
Confident Randy Rosario wants to show Twins he's ready for the majors

Confident Randy Rosario wants to show Twins he's ready for the majors

Although he began the season touring the Class AA Southern League, Randy Rosario already believed he was major league material.
'We have stabilized,' Molitor says after Twins rally to beat Angels

'We have stabilized,' Molitor says after Twins rally to beat Angels

The Twins left Target Field on Wednesday saddled with a four-game losing streak and a scarred bullpen. They had no idea how long it would take for them to recover.
Twins shuffle rotation, move up Santana to start in Seattle on Thursday

Twins shuffle rotation, move up Santana to start in Seattle on Thursday

If the rotation stays on schedule after that, the move also sets up Santana to pitch the finale of a four-game series against Cleveland during the next homestand.
Pujols reaches 600 career home runs with grand slam off Twins

Pujols reaches 600 career home runs with grand slam off Twins

Albert Pujols on Saturday night launched a fourth-inning grand slam off Ervin Santana to reach the milestone.
Grossman shows he can be aggressive at the plate, too

Grossman shows he can be aggressive at the plate, too

Robbie Grossman was 6-for-34 (.176) last season when he put the first pitch in play. This season, he's already 10-for-23 (.435)
Gibson settles in with big lead as Twins rout Angels

Gibson settles in with big lead as Twins rout Angels

A trio of two-run homers from Twins hitters Friday night gave Kyle Gibson a comfort zone on the mound.
Rosario feels 'I'm home' in making leap to Twins from Class AA

Rosario feels 'I'm home' in making leap to Twins from Class AA

Randy Rosario, with a 1.90 ERA in 10 games at Chattanooga, was happy but not surprised to get the call to the big leagues.
Triple play and ninth-inning rally help Twins end losing streak

Triple play and ninth-inning rally help Twins end losing streak

The Twins on Thursday night got a home run from Miguel Sano, turned a triple play and used an Angels' error in the ninth inning to come back for a 4-2 victory in Anaheim.
Mauer on success in Anaheim: 'Something you can't explain'

Mauer on success in Anaheim: 'Something you can't explain'

In 78 career games in Anaheim, Joe Mauer is batting .343 with nine home runs, 49 RBI, a .416 on base percentage and .911 on base-plus-slugging percentage.
Berrios struggles as Houston grinds down Twins 7-2

Berrios struggles as Houston grinds down Twins 7-2

Twins starter Jose Berrios on Tuesday needed 104 pitches to get through five innings. His lack of command made his curveball less effective, and Astros hitters squared up.
Twins' Glen Perkins faces batters in latest shoulder rehab test

Twins' Glen Perkins faces batters in latest shoulder rehab test

The hitters were in workout gear and surrounded by a batting cage. The pitcher threw from behind a protective L-screen. It was simulated baseball at…
Dozier delivers with eighth-inning homer as Twins beat Rays 5-3

Dozier delivers with eighth-inning homer as Twins beat Rays 5-3

After the Twins came up empty with runners in scoring position, Brian Dozier connected by going the opposite way.
Twins take note of Adalberto Mejia shaking off catcher

Twins take note of Adalberto Mejia shaking off catcher

The team would like the rookie lefthander to have more faith in the signs he's receiving.
Archer on target as Rays end Twins' winning streak at four

Archer on target as Rays end Twins' winning streak at four

The Tampa Bay righthander struck out 11, using his showcase slider to devastating effect.
Twins pitching prospect Nick Burdi to have Tommy John surgery

Twins pitching prospect Nick Burdi to have Tommy John surgery

The righthander will have his season shortened by injury for the second year in a row.
Home run power, Mejia's pitching give Twins doubleheader split with Royals

Home run power, Mejia's pitching give Twins doubleheader split with Royals

Adalberto Mejia went seven solid innings in the nightcap after the Royals got to Phil Hughes, who is going on the disabled list, in the opener.
Shoulder weakness puts Hughes on disabled list; Gibson starts tonight in Baltimore

Shoulder weakness puts Hughes on disabled list; Gibson starts tonight in Baltimore

"It's very frustrating," said Hughes, 5-3 with a 5.74 ERA this season. "I hoped a lot of this was behind me."
Berrios shines again, strikes out 11 as Twins split doubleheader with Rockies

Berrios shines again, strikes out 11 as Twins split doubleheader with Rockies

The Twins avoided a series sweep thanks to another strong outing from Jose Berrios, who struck out a career high in a 2-0 win in the second game of a doubleheader. The Twins lost the first game 5-1.
Molitor gives the Twins a midgame pep talk during doubleheader

Molitor gives the Twins a midgame pep talk during doubleheader

Paul Molitor didn't like the atmosphere in the dugout during Game 1 of the Twins' doubleheader against Colorado, and the manager used an unusual method to address it.
Will Twins draft Hunter Greene or Brendan McKay? Or none of the above?

Will Twins draft Hunter Greene or Brendan McKay? Or none of the above?

Break down the tape. Dive deep into the numbers. Do background checks. Flip a coin. Indications are that a handful of Twins' officials have seen all the top prospects — and all have different rankings.
Santiago doesn't last long as Twins pounded in Cleveland finale

Santiago doesn't last long as Twins pounded in Cleveland finale

Indians rough up lefty for six runs and avert sweep.
Blogger hints Twins pitcher Berrios used substance on baseballs

Blogger hints Twins pitcher Berrios used substance on baseballs

Local blogger Parker Hageman, whose video breakdowns of hitters' swings have been a hit in recent years, took to Twitter late Saturday to point out a smudge on the bill of Berrios' cap that the righthander touched frequently during his outing. Hageman also showed video of Berrios reaching for the area every time he received a new baseball.
Berrios' master plan vs. Cleveland: 'Attack the hitters'

Berrios' master plan vs. Cleveland: 'Attack the hitters'

Back from the minors, 22-year-old Jose Berrios impressed with the best outing of his major league career. He allowed just two hits in 7.2 innings in the Twins' 4-1 victory over the Indians.
After three consecutive saves, Kintzler eager to go again for Twins

After three consecutive saves, Kintzler eager to go again for Twins

Brandon Kintzler's 10 saves are second in the American League to Boston's Craig Kimbrel, who recorded his 11th Saturday.
Santana walks five but finds a way to help Twins shut out Cleveland

Santana walks five but finds a way to help Twins shut out Cleveland

Miguel Sano's first-inning home run stood up in the 1-0 victory, as Ervin Santana struggled at times with five walks but moved to 6-1 on the season.
Berrios gets another long-awaited opportunity with Twins

Berrios gets another long-awaited opportunity with Twins

The Twins will soon find out if Jose Berrios, 3-7 with an 8.02 ERA in 11 major league starts last season, polished his pitching at Class AAA to the point where he can succeed. He starts Saturday in Cleveland.
Twins flex power muscles early, edge White Sox

Twins flex power muscles early, edge White Sox

Three home runs in the first two innings piled up an early lead they nearly gave back.
Berrios, Twins' top starting pitching prospect, called up for Saturday start

Berrios, Twins' top starting pitching prospect, called up for Saturday start

He's 3-0 at Class AAA, but the team needed convincing he's ready for the major leagues.
After rainout and latest roster move, Twins pitching still in flux

After rainout and latest roster move, Twins pitching still in flux

Phil Hughes starts Thursday, Ervin Saturday on Friday and there's still uncertainty about Saturday. That game will not be started by Adam Wilk, a lefty claimed on waivers from the Mets
Twins' Dozier helped by rainout-created day of rest

Twins' Dozier helped by rainout-created day of rest

The second baseman is expected to be in the lineup Thursday.
Twins, Santiago hand Pelfrey a 'demoralizing' start

Twins, Santiago hand Pelfrey a 'demoralizing' start

The Twins took the lead on a Kennys Vargas home run off former Minnesota pitcher Mike Pelfrey, and former White Sox pitcher Hector Santiago upped his record vs. Chicago to 5-1 with a 1.59 ERA.
After suspension upheld, Sano says, 'I was defending myself'

After suspension upheld, Sano says, 'I was defending myself'

The incident began when Tigers pitcher Matt Boyd threw a pitch behind Sano, and the Twins third baseman responded by pointing and yelling at Boyd.
Boston's 10-run ninth turns tense game into 17-6 demolishment of Twins

Boston's 10-run ninth turns tense game into 17-6 demolishment of Twins

The anticipated pitcher's duel between Ervin Santana and Chris Sale turned into a long after of home runs -- and a ninth-inning meltdown by the Twins that ended with 23 runs being scored.
State of the rotation: Twins need pitchers for Thursday, Saturday

State of the rotation: Twins need pitchers for Thursday, Saturday

Despite his second-inning knockout over the weekend, Nick Tepesch is expected to start Thursday in Chicago. Saturday's starter remains more of a mystery.
Santana's altered plan goes awry against Leon

Santana's altered plan goes awry against Leon

Twins catcher Chris Gimenez asked for a slider. Ervin Santana shook him off to a changeup. Sandy Leon didn't miss it.
Perkins frustrated with lack of progress in shoulder surgery rehab

Perkins frustrated with lack of progress in shoulder surgery rehab

"I've been banging my head against the wall," Twins reliever Glen Perkins said Wednesday. "I'd like to be further along than I am, but that is the way it goes."
Despite strong start, Twins plan to keep Berrios in the minors

Despite strong start, Twins plan to keep Berrios in the minors

The Twins want to know if he's getting away with things against minor league hitters that won't work in the majors. So don't expect Jose Berrios to be called up when the Twins need a fifth starter.
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