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
Last chance to impress for Twins' relief hopefuls

Last chance to impress for Twins' relief hopefuls

The Twins appear to still have two open bullpen spots to fill by next week's opener.
Twins beat Phillies 4-2 as Molitor continues search for pitching

Twins beat Phillies 4-2 as Molitor continues search for pitching

Nick Tepesch gave up two runs in 3⅔ innings, and is hoping to eventually gain a spot as a long reliever, even though he could start the season at Class AAA Rochester.
Twins' Rule 5 pick takes beating from former team

Twins' Rule 5 pick takes beating from former team

Twins pitcher Justin Haley gave up four earned runs on five hits and one walk in two innings of work Sunday against the Red Sox, his former organization.
Vogelsong, in running for Twins rotation spot, still crafting way through lineups

Vogelsong, in running for Twins rotation spot, still crafting way through lineups

Ryan Vogelsong's line Saturday - two runs on four hits and two walks - wasn't the best for someone in the running for a spot in the rotation.
ByungHo Park continues to impress Twins with 'trust to his approach'

ByungHo Park continues to impress Twins with 'trust to his approach'

Twins manager Paul Molitor praised the Korean slugger's consistency this spring, leading to a whopping .840 slugging percentage.
Hughes experimenting, has rocky outing working on a change-up

Hughes experimenting, has rocky outing working on a change-up

Hughes has spent most of his career looking for another pitch to throw, something to neutralize hitters and keep his ERA down.
Torn ligament in arm ends Trevor May's 2017 season

Torn ligament in arm ends Trevor May's 2017 season

May, who was in contention to be the Twins' No. 5 starter, said he felt something in his elbow on Wednesday during a pitch to Team USA's Andrew McCutchen.
Twins crush Red Sox 13-0 as Kyle Gibson throws five scoreless innings

Twins crush Red Sox 13-0 as Kyle Gibson throws five scoreless innings

Pitcher Kyle Gibson made it look easy for five innings during the Twins 13-0 basting of Boston for their eighth consecutive victory.
May, Twins turn back Team USA in exhibition

May, Twins turn back Team USA in exhibition

After a rough start aginst the first three batters for the World Baseball Classic team, Twins righthander Trevor May shut the door.
Despite productive 2016 with Twins, Kepler not resting on laurels

Despite productive 2016 with Twins, Kepler not resting on laurels

He saw a lot of flaws in his highly touted rookie season.
Them against the World: Twins prepare for World Baseball Classic

Them against the World: Twins prepare for World Baseball Classic

The WBC returns for the fourth time, and 10 players from the Twins organization — five from Puerto Rico — are on rosters for the tournament. Pool play begins Monday.
Twins being patient as Polanco learns shortstop position

Twins being patient as Polanco learns shortstop position

While Jorge Polanco's errors this spring are troubling the Twins remain committed to giving him a long, hard look at shortstop. His offensive potential is a big reason.
Anger management: Duffey tries to not let temper get best of him

Anger management: Duffey tries to not let temper get best of him

As Tyler Duffey fights for a spot in the Twins rotation, he has to prove he can be intense but keep his poise when things don't go right.
Twins pitchers rocked in 19-0 loss to Tampa Bay

Twins pitchers rocked in 19-0 loss to Tampa Bay

It started against Hector Santiago, continued through Tyler Duffey and included Felix Jorge then the rest of the Twins bullpen. The Twins trailed 13-0 after three innings.
Twins stumble upon a hidden gem in pitcher Romero

Twins stumble upon a hidden gem in pitcher Romero

The Twins clubhouse has buzzed about Fernando Romero's work in the bullpen and during workouts, leading to great anticipation before Sunday's scoreless outing. Hunter makes his debut in April, Hawkins in May.
Twins beat Nationals 5-2 for first spring training victory

Twins beat Nationals 5-2 for first spring training victory

Trevor May, looking to return to the Twins rotation, was pleased with his first outing this spring.
Twins' Castro a master in the art of framing pitches

Twins' Castro a master in the art of framing pitches

Jason Castro will be paid $24.5 million over the next three seasons, and not because he's going to put up big numbers at the plate. It's because of his defensive skill set, with pitch framing at the forefront.
New Twins hitting coach Rowson has hands-off approach

New Twins hitting coach Rowson has hands-off approach

James Rowson was hired as Twins hitting coach because of his ability to communicate and help hitters grow. He sees his job as helping players find their swing, as long as they put in the work.
Molitor's message to Twins: Try not to stink again

Molitor's message to Twins: Try not to stink again

There are 28 new players and coaches in trainingcamp this year, but many of the culprits responsible for last season's 103 losses were back as manager Paul Molitor listed his objectives for 2017.
Kintzler as closer? Probably, but any job will do

Kintzler as closer? Probably, but any job will do

Brandon Kintzler inherited the Twins' closer role in 2016, but he will accept any bullpen spot this season.
Hughes intends to start fresh after injury-wrecked 2016

Hughes intends to start fresh after injury-wrecked 2016

Hughes admitted Monday that he had numbness and tingling in his hand going back to 2015. He said there were times his arm felt as if he had thrown 90 pitches — and it was the first inning.
Perkins plans to throw off mound Tuesday in Fort Myers

Perkins plans to throw off mound Tuesday in Fort Myers

Glen Perkins, who pitched in only two games last season, was supposed to throw Friday but backed off, opting to give his arm more rest after several long-toss throwing sessions in recent weeks.
2017 Twins position by position

2017 Twins position by position

Breaking down each position's outlook entering the 2017 season.
Breslow returning to Twins, says Falvey has 'great vision' for club

Breslow returning to Twins, says Falvey has 'great vision' for club

The 11-year veteran agreed to a minor league deal with an invitation to major league camp, meaning the Twins will not have to clear room for him on their 40-man roster.
Twins claim infielder Ehire Adrianza off waivers

Twins claim infielder Ehire Adrianza off waivers

Adrianza, 27, played in 40 games for San Francisco last season, hitting .254 with two home runs and seven RBI. He can play shortstop and second base.
Twins drop Byung Ho Park from 40-man roster

Twins drop Byung Ho Park from 40-man roster

The South Korean slugger, still due $9.25 million, is expected to clear waivers.

New Twins hitting coach Rowson is inclusive in his approach

New Twins hitting coach James Rowson wanted to get to know all the hitting coaches in the minor league system. So he sat back and listened.
A fitter Sano shows Twins he's ready to take next step

A fitter Sano shows Twins he's ready to take next step

By chasing greatness via hard work, Miguel Sano sends positive message
Tough sell: Twins trying to sell hope as Winter Caravan begins

Tough sell: Twins trying to sell hope as Winter Caravan begins

After their 103-loss season, manager Paul Molitor and others are trying to sell hope even though the team hasn't made any major on-field players moves for 2017.
Puerto Rico figures to lean significantly on Twins for World Baseball Classic

Puerto Rico figures to lean significantly on Twins for World Baseball Classic

Manager Paul Molitor said Monday that he expects righthander Jose Berrios, lefthander Hector Santiago, outfielder Eddie Rosario and first baseman Kennys Vargas to play for the team.
Twins imply time's running out to consider trade offers for Dozier

Twins imply time's running out to consider trade offers for Dozier

The Twins have been listening to trade offers for All-Star second baseman Brian Dozier for several weeks — but not much longer.
Twins finalize coaching staff, add Smith and Pickler

Twins finalize coaching staff, add Smith and Pickler

After being the hitting coach for the Twins' Gulf Coast League rookie team in 2005, Jeff Smith managed two years at Class A Beloit, two years at Class A Fort Myers and five years at Class AA New Britain before spending last season back at Fort Myers.
Twins minor leaguer Yorman Landa, 22, killed in Venezuela car accident

Twins minor leaguer Yorman Landa, 22, killed in Venezuela car accident

Pitcher Yorman Landa was killed in a car accident.
Twins get starter Justin Haley in three-team trade after Rule 5 draft

Twins get starter Justin Haley in three-team trade after Rule 5 draft

The Twins obtained Triple-A right-handed pitcher Justin Haley in a trade after first taking pitcher Miguel Diaz from the Milwaukee Brewers organization with the first pick in baseball's Rule 5 draft Thursday.
Swap meet lands righthander Justin Haley for Twins in Rule 5 draft

Swap meet lands righthander Justin Haley for Twins in Rule 5 draft

Four teams owned the Rule 5 pitcher during hectic few hours.
Molitor adjusts to 'collaboration' with new Twins bosses

Molitor adjusts to 'collaboration' with new Twins bosses

How the relationship between Twins manager Paul Molitor and new Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey evolves will be worth watching in 2017.
Twins' new scouting director Johnson promoted into tough spot

Twins' new scouting director Johnson promoted into tough spot

Sean Johnson, a former catcher at Wichita State who once dreamed of being a college coach, understands the significance of his appointment.
Twins' Dozier knows trade chatter surrounding him is unavoidable

Twins' Dozier knows trade chatter surrounding him is unavoidable

The second baseman wants to stay with the Twins but knows it's not his decision.
Dozier is Twins' most valuable chip at winter meetings today

Dozier is Twins' most valuable chip at winter meetings today

Derek Falvey, the Twins' chief baseball officer, made it clear Sunday that he's not actively shopping former All-Star Brian Dozier, who is coming off a 42-homer, 99-RBI season. But they are listening to inquiries.
New boss Derek Falvey looks to make an imprint with Twins

New boss Derek Falvey looks to make an imprint with Twins

The new baseball chief's personality and career have been defined by a relentless drive that could set a new tone for the Twins.
Former Twins media relations director Tom Mee dies at 88

Former Twins media relations director Tom Mee dies at 88

Tom Mee began working with the Twins from the time of their arrival in 1961.
James Rowson takes on challenge with youngsters as Twins hitting coach

James Rowson takes on challenge with youngsters as Twins hitting coach

The new Twins hitting coach caught Derek Falvey's attention a few years ago.

Rowson named Twins hitting coach; Bill Smith leaving organization

The Twins have hired former Yankees minor league hitting coordinator James Rowson as their new hitting coach, according to a report by the New York Post.
Optimism to out the door: Terry Ryan on being fired

Optimism to out the door: Terry Ryan on being fired

Former Twins general manager Terry Ryan spoke Thursday about his firing for the first time. "For both parties, maybe it was the right time to make a switch and a change and go our separate ways."
New Twins catcher Castro sees similarities between Twins, Astros

New Twins catcher Castro sees similarities between Twins, Astros

Jason Castro lost a lot of games early in his career with the Astros. He's also seen the team rebound to make the playoffs and been an All-Star.
Twins call on past to brighten future

Twins call on past to brighten future

The club Monday announced that former Twins Torii Hunter, LaTroy Hawkins and Michael Cuddyer have joined the organization as special assistants to baseball operations.
Former Twins Hawkins, Hunter and Cuddyer likely to become special assistants

Former Twins Hawkins, Hunter and Cuddyer likely to become special assistants

The new front office team of Derek Falvey and Thad Levine pledged to expand the club's statistical analysis department to get the Twins caught up…
Twins makeover begins by signing catcher Castro to three-year deal

Twins makeover begins by signing catcher Castro to three-year deal

Jason Castro is considered a strong defensive catcher, although he has struggled with the bat since being named to the American League All-Star team in 2013.
Making moves: Falvey's new Twins leadership team gets to work

Making moves: Falvey's new Twins leadership team gets to work

Figuring out what to do about options at several positions is at the top of Derek Falvey and Thad Levine's to-do list. Also, a decision on members of the coaching staff should come quickly.
Twins name Levine general manager; Falvey meets media Monday

Twins name Levine general manager; Falvey meets media Monday

The 44-year-old Levine has been an assistant GM for Texas since October of 2005; he worked in the Colorado organization the previous six seasons.
Derek Falvey officially named Twins' chief baseball officer

Derek Falvey officially named Twins' chief baseball officer

New baseball chief arrives with youth, plaudits — and a keen pitching sense.
From intern to in charge: Falvey, 33, will be Twins' new baseball boss

From intern to in charge: Falvey, 33, will be Twins' new baseball boss

Those who know Derek Falvey say he embraces statistical analysis, but also understands that there is room for old-school approaches to talent evaluation.
Twins players mourn Jose Fernandez's death

Twins players mourn Jose Fernandez's death

The Twins held a moment of silence before game, as a few fans gasped in surprise when Fernandez's death was announced.
Twins lose home finale, and 100th game of the season

Twins lose home finale, and 100th game of the season

The Twins lost 4-3 to Seattle on Sunday to fall to 56-100 on the season, just the second time in club history they have lost 100 games
Sano promises to lose weight, work harder, be better prepared for 2017

Sano promises to lose weight, work harder, be better prepared for 2017

Teammates, from spring training into the regular season, have had to stay on Miguel Sano about getting in his workouts. He's vowing that will change.
Twins coaching staff in limbo as final games approach

Twins coaching staff in limbo as final games approach

Manager Paul Molitor and his Twins coaching staff will be evaluated by the yet-to-be-hired new front-office leader. The team is headed toward 100 losses this season.
Twins-Tigers postponed; split doubleheader set for Thursday

Twins-Tigers postponed; split doubleheader set for Thursday

Wednesday night's Twins-Tigers game at Target Field was called in the bottom of third inning because of heavy rain.
Swept again: Twins fall 40 games below .500 in loss to Mets

Swept again: Twins fall 40 games below .500 in loss to Mets

The Mets held off the Twins 3-2 on Sunday afternoon in Queens. Now the Twins head home for their final six games of the season at Target Field.
Twins fear it's a season-ending broken thumb for Rosario

Twins fear it's a season-ending broken thumb for Rosario

Eddie Rosario said after Saturday's game that he didn't believe his thumb was broken because he could move it a little without too much pain. But the Twins know that doesn't mean there isn't a break.
Granderson's two HRs spoil Buxton's heroics as Twins fall to Mets in 12

Granderson's two HRs spoil Buxton's heroics as Twins fall to Mets in 12

The veteran Mets outfielder hit the tying homer in the 11th and the winning homer an inning later.
Sano gets good report after MRI on back

Sano gets good report after MRI on back

The third baseman's exam in the Twin Cities came back relatively clean.
More contenders emerge for Twins' top job

More contenders emerge for Twins' top job

The Twins will interview Rays executive Chaim Bloom and are interested in Mets executive John Ricco.
St. Peter chides 'misinformation' as Twins update baseball boss search

St. Peter chides 'misinformation' as Twins update baseball boss search

Twins President Dave St. Peter said the hire to replace GM Terry Ryan could be made by the end of regular season.
Santiago finally finds post-trade success as Twins beat Tigers

Santiago finally finds post-trade success as Twins beat Tigers

Hector Santiago has improved after some rough starts since being dealt to Twins, and Thursday helped the team to a four-game series split in Detroit.
Twins pitching blows another lead; Dozier homers in 9-6 loss

Twins pitching blows another lead; Dozier homers in 9-6 loss

Brian Dozier's 41st home run of the season helped the Twins to a 5-2 lead but Detroit muscled its way to a 9-6 victory.
Cubs executive Jason McLeod is on Twins' radar

Cubs executive Jason McLeod is on Twins' radar

The Twins have contacted the Chicago Cubs for permission to speak with executive Jason McLeod about taking over their baseball department.
Gibson cruises as Twins end 11-game road losing streak

Gibson cruises as Twins end 11-game road losing streak

The righthander threw eight strong innings, allowing only one run on five hits, and his teammates supplied seven runs in the first four innings.
J.J. Picollo interviews for Twins baseball director job, sources say

J.J. Picollo interviews for Twins baseball director job, sources say

In addition to the Royals vice president and assistant general manager, the team also reached out to ex-Red Sox GM Ben Cherington.
Dozier hits 40th homer, but Twins fall to Tigers

Dozier hits 40th homer, but Twins fall to Tigers

He's only the second Twin to reach the mark, but he did so in another loss.
Duffey inconsistent as Twins lose to Cleveland 5-4

Duffey inconsistent as Twins lose to Cleveland 5-4

Tyler Duffey struck out six Friday night but also gave up a slew of loud hits in the Twins' 5-4 loss to the Indians.
Persistence pays off for Twins rookie Beresford

Persistence pays off for Twins rookie Beresford

More than a decade after signing with Twins, James Beresford finally gets his taste of big leagues.
Ninth-inning meltdown overshadows another Dozier home run

Ninth-inning meltdown overshadows another Dozier home run

Going into the ninth inning, the Twins and Royals were tied at 3. That was before Kansas City scored seven runs against four relief pitchers.
Twins hold off White Sox, end losing streak at 13 games

Twins hold off White Sox, end losing streak at 13 games

The Twins ended their losing streak one game shy of a team record, with an upper-deck home run by Byron Buxton helping them build an early lead.
Buxton homers in return to Twins

Buxton homers in return to Twins

In his first game back from Class AAA, Byron Buxton launched a three-run homer off White Sox lefthander Carlos Quintana to give the Twins a four-run lead.
Nagging quads slow Mauer again; hopes to return Friday

Nagging quads slow Mauer again; hopes to return Friday

Joe Mauer scored from first on a Trevor Plouffe double on Aug. 16 and has been in and out of the lineup since. He missed his fourth game in nine Thursday.
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