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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
Twins notes: Stauffer activated

Twins notes: Stauffer activated

The Twins on Thursday activated righthander Tim Stauffer from the 15-day disabled list after he recovered from a strained right intercostal muscle.
Mauer's first home run gives Twins 13-inning win

Mauer's first home run gives Twins 13-inning win

For Joe Mauer, the career-longest power drought is over. He homered for the first time since Aug. 17 — 76 games and 322 plate appearances ago.
Molitor, Puckett, Harmon and more: Twins, Letterman go way back

Molitor, Puckett, Harmon and more: Twins, Letterman go way back

Twins manager Paul Molitor was twice a guest on the show, which ended its 33-year run Wednesday night.

Twins notes: Molitor talks shift strategy

Shifting defenses are now part of daily strategy.
Twins notes: Suspended Santana ramps up work

Twins notes: Suspended Santana ramps up work

Ervin Santana, serving an 80-game suspension after testing positive for a steroid, has been throwing in the bullpen and building toward facing live hitters next week.
Twins stay strong at home with win over Tampa Bay

Twins stay strong at home with win over Tampa Bay

Eduardo Escobar’s perfect day at the plate backed up Trevor May’s solid outing on the mound as the Twins secured another series victory at Target Field on Saturday.
Twins notes: Schafer on DL, Robinson back

Twins notes: Schafer on DL, Robinson back

The Twins placed outfielder Jordan Schafer on the 15-day disabled list because of a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee Saturday.
Rays credit Twins pitching coach Allen's influence

Rays credit Twins pitching coach Allen's influence

Before joining the Twins, pitching coach Neil Allen spent four seasons coaching the Rays’ top farm team, Class AAA Durham.
Twins notes: Mauer takes break for first time this season

Twins notes: Mauer takes break for first time this season

Twins manager Paul Molitor filled out his first lineup card without Joe Mauer’s name on it, the first time in 29 games that has occurred.
Rosario begins career with a blast; Twins win 13-0

Rosario begins career with a blast; Twins win 13-0

Twins rookie Eddie Rosario became the 118th player to hit a home run on his first major league at-bat, an opposite-field shot on the first pitch he saw in the third inning.
Doug Bernier and his web-savvy ways join Twins

Doug Bernier and his web-savvy ways join Twins

His website, probaseballinsider.com, offers free tips and advice to younger players.
Twins notes: Hunter tweets, takes heat, then deletes

Twins notes: Hunter tweets, takes heat, then deletes

Twins outfielder Torii Hunter apologized Sunday after a statement he made on social media landed him in hot water.
Twins sweep to keep purging first-week demons

Twins sweep to keep purging first-week demons

Trevor Plouffe hit a grand slam in Sunday’s rout and the Twins moved to 13-12 on the season with a four-game sweep over the White Sox at Target Field.
Nolasco returns to Twins, but Hughes' availability a question

Nolasco returns to Twins, but Hughes' availability a question

Ricky Nolasco will start Saturday against the White Sox while Phil Hughes’ next start is up in the air.
Twins rough up Chris Sale, blow out White Sox 12-2

Twins rough up Chris Sale, blow out White Sox 12-2

The Chicago ace lost to the Twins for only the second time in his career.
Solid again: Pelfrey shuts down Tigers, offense rallies for win

Solid again: Pelfrey shuts down Tigers, offense rallies for win

Making big pitches, keeping hitters off balance, shaking off a bad fourth inning, Mike Pelfrey went seven innings and struck out seven Tigers.
Twins notes: May will start as scheduled

Twins notes: May will start as scheduled

After throwing in the bullpen Tuesday with no problems, the Twins announced Trevor May will take his normal turn in the rotation.
Gibson works through a challenging rough patch

Gibson works through a challenging rough patch

Kyle Gibson recovered after the fifth inning, pitched well in the sixth and seventh and was allowed to start the eighth. A leadoff double to Seth Smith ended his day.
May injury dampens offensive outburst in Twins' win

May injury dampens offensive outburst in Twins' win

Trevor May left Saturday's game early and missed out on the Twins stringing hits around Safeco against erratic lefthander James Paxton and the Mariners bullpen in an 8-5 victory.
Twins' May excited for homecoming start

Twins' May excited for homecoming start

Washington native Trevor May expects some friends, coaches and about 15 family members to be in the stands Saturday when the Twins face Seattle.
King Felix, homers too much as Twins fall to Mariners

King Felix, homers too much as Twins fall to Mariners

Phil Hughes went the distance for the Twins but fell to 0-4 as Seattle's Felix Hernandez kept Minnesota off the board.
A new chance for Twins late-bloomer Thompson

A new chance for Twins late-bloomer Thompson

Twins reliever Aaron Thompson has put drug suspensions behind him as he tries to take advantage of a second chance with the Twins organization.
Pelfrey picks up big win in a big way with shutout over Royals

Pelfrey picks up big win in a big way with shutout over Royals

The righthander pitched seven innings and got his first win since 2013.
Twins notes: Hunter fails at steal of home

Twins notes: Hunter fails at steal of home

Torii Hunter almost landed in the Twins record book Wednesday — but ended up running the Twins out of a potentially big inning.
Twins relievers can't hold lead late in Kansas City

Twins relievers can't hold lead late in Kansas City

Kansas City won Tuesday's game over the Twins with a pair of runs in the eighth inning, the second coming off closer Glen Perkins.
Twins leave themselves defenseless in loss to Royals

Twins leave themselves defenseless in loss to Royals

The Royals outclassed the Twins 7-1. Or was it the Twins making the Royals look like the classy team? It was reminiscent of the Twins home opener a week earlier.
Molitor expects no retaliation from Royals over Rios injury

Molitor expects no retaliation from Royals over Rios injury

Twins manager Paul Molitor said he didn’t see the need to reach out to the Royals to smooth things over after reliever J.R. Graham hit Alex Rios with a pitch on April 13 because “there was no intent.”
Twins games among fastest, but team getting slow play letters

Twins games among fastest, but team getting slow play letters

Through the first week of games, the average time of major league games dropped eight minutes, from 3 hours, 2 minutes to 2:54.
Twins unleash offense, survive shaky finish to take series

Twins unleash offense, survive shaky finish to take series

Tommy Milone won his second start and the Twins had their best offensive game of the season in beating the defending American League champion.
Rios angry about Graham's pitch that broke his hand

Rios angry about Graham's pitch that broke his hand

Royals outfielder Alex Rios will miss up to six weeks because of a broken left hand, suffered when he was struck by a J.R. Graham pitch.
Strong pitching, tweaked lineup help Twins give Royals first loss

Strong pitching, tweaked lineup help Twins give Royals first loss

The lineup changed, and so did the starting pitching, provided by Kyle Gibson's solid outing that handed Kansas City its first loss of the season.
'Disappointed' Molitor taking long view of Twins poor start

'Disappointed' Molitor taking long view of Twins poor start

The Twins have not been the team that manager Paul Molitor felt so good about when they left Fort Myers, Fla., less than two weeks ago to begin the regular season.
Hunter gives home opener fans a reason to cheer

Hunter gives home opener fans a reason to cheer

The pregame ceremonies became Toriifest on Monday.
Twins relievers turn close game into rout

Twins relievers turn close game into rout

Trevor May made an acceptable start fpr the Twins on Monday at Target Field, but those following him in the home opener got lit up.
Twins face undefeated Royals today in 55th home opener

Twins face undefeated Royals today in 55th home opener

The Twins will open the home season today with assists from Kevin Garnett and Tyus Jones.
Twins playing in deeper, stronger AL Central this year

Twins playing in deeper, stronger AL Central this year

Paul Molitor will see how his team measures up against an improving division right off the bat with the opening series at Detroit.
Twins show support for Santana but prepare to move forward

Twins show support for Santana but prepare to move forward

While Ervin Santana serves an 80-game suspension, the pressure is on the Twins pitching staff to make up for the loss of someone who has won 119 games in his career.
Troubled by pitching for years, Twins issue a call to arms

Troubled by pitching for years, Twins issue a call to arms

Some steps to improve a troubled pitching staff were wiped out when Ervin Santana was suspended
Loss is part of Twins' quick getaway

Loss is part of Twins' quick getaway

The Twins lost to Boston 4-2 in a tidy 2 hours, 5 minutes Saturday before packing up and shipping out for Monday's Opening Day in Detroit.
Twins' pitching is improved; now about the defense

Twins' pitching is improved; now about the defense

Defensive deficiencies, particularly in the outfield, have exacerbated the Twins’ pitching troubles
Santana suspended 80 games for positive PED test

Santana suspended 80 games for positive PED test

Ervin Santana, who signed a four-year, $54 million contract with the Twins during the offseason, tested positive for Stanozolol.

Escobar turns in another strong performance for Twins at the plate

Eduardo Escobar was at it again Friday in the Twins’ 5-2 win over Boston. He was 2-for-4 with two doubles and three RBI. He’s batting .344 with a team high 20 RBI in 18 games.
Escobar will play for Twins, but no one knows exactly where

Escobar will play for Twins, but no one knows exactly where

He’s not a utility player. He’s not a regular. But the Twins want Eduardo Escobar on the field a lot.
Twins pitching staff set, but questions remain

Twins pitching staff set, but questions remain

The Twins' 12-man Opening Day pitching staff was finalized Wednesday when lefthander Caleb Thielbar, the Randolph, Minn., product, was sent to Class AAA.
Wait for it: Twins pitching coach Allen big on changeups

Wait for it: Twins pitching coach Allen big on changeups

New Twins pitching coach Neil Allen comes from Tampa Bay, where he and the Rays were big believers in throwing changeups.
Aaron Hicks might not get another shot with the Twins

Aaron Hicks might not get another shot with the Twins

The Twins clearly are frustrated by the former first-round pick's lack of progress. How did the Twins and Hicks arrive at this point?
Twins cutdown day hits Pelfrey hardest; Hicks sent down

Twins cutdown day hits Pelfrey hardest; Hicks sent down

Mike Pelfrey wonders if he got a fair shake after learning he would start the year in relief; Aaron Hicks is opening the year in Class AAA Rochester.
Twins considering trades to help out their bullpen

Twins considering trades to help out their bullpen

As Opening Day nears, teams are focusing on what their final rosters might look like. And the Twins are not liking what they see when they peek into their bullpen.

Loss is a learning experience for young Twins pitcher Reed

Jake Reed, last year’s fifth-round draft pick, threw a first-pitch slider to Rusney Castillo that ended the game against Boston. Reed also threw a first-pitch slider to the previous hitter.
Settling on a second baseman: Twins sign Dozier through 2018

Settling on a second baseman: Twins sign Dozier through 2018

Second baseman Brian Dozier, 27, becomes one of eight Twins signed to multiyear deals but only the third position player with Joe Mauer and Kurt Suzuki.
Rosario's walkoff leads the Twins to a 6-5 win over the Blue Jays

Rosario's walkoff leads the Twins to a 6-5 win over the Blue Jays

Eddie Rosario, batting .256 with two home runs and seven RBI during spring training, won the game for the Twins on Tuesday.
It's Molitor's time to tinker with Twins lineup

It's Molitor's time to tinker with Twins lineup

It will be easier to see what manager Paul Molitor is thinking by the end of this week, when the spring training roster shrinks toward 25 and starters play more games.
Twins' Santana keeps running in 5-3 victory over Miami

Twins' Santana keeps running in 5-3 victory over Miami

Santana had four hits on Sunday during the Twins’ 5-3 victory over Miami. There were a couple seeing-eye singles in there but it still was a flashback to a year ago, when he surprised many by hitting .319 and getting a few votes for rookie of the year.
Rays' long balls wipe out Twins' pitching successes

Rays' long balls wipe out Twins' pitching successes

PORT CHARLOTTE, FLA. – Good thing this is spring training, where the Twins could leave pleased on Saturday after four no-hit innings by Trevor…
Perkins ready to gear up for Opening Day

Perkins ready to gear up for Opening Day

Spring training has restarted for Glen Perkins. The Twins All-Star closer pitched an uneventful — as in healthy — scoreless inning Thursday.
Home-run barrage helps Twins hold off Orioles as relievers fail

Home-run barrage helps Twins hold off Orioles as relievers fail

The Twins clubbed four home runs in a 10-9 win over Baltimore on Tuesday in Sarasota.
Schafer is in the running for Twins' center field job

Schafer is in the running for Twins' center field job

Speedy Jordan Schafer wants another shot at playing every day in the Twins outfield.
Danny Santana: Getting into the proper position

Danny Santana: Getting into the proper position

Danny Santana was summoned to the Twins to play shortstop last summer, but ended up in center field most of the time because the Twins were in crisis mode to fill the position.
Vargas, Rosario go yard as Barrios pitches strong in Twins victory

Vargas, Rosario go yard as Barrios pitches strong in Twins victory

First basemen Kennys Vargas and outfielder Eddie Rosario each homered and righthander Jose Berrios threw three scoreless innings.
Twins' Pinto works to grasp catching's nuances

Twins' Pinto works to grasp catching's nuances

The Twins know Josmil Pinto can hit, but can he do the job defensively?
Milone picks up momentum in battle for fifth-starter spot

Milone picks up momentum in battle for fifth-starter spot

With three scoreless innings, the lefty is in contention for the rotation.
Day at camp: Dozier going to all fields; Ryan on Hicks

Day at camp: Dozier going to all fields; Ryan on Hicks

The second baseman had three singles against the Rays, all up the middle.
Closer Perkins shuts himself down after feeling 'pull'

Closer Perkins shuts himself down after feeling 'pull'

The closer felt something pull in his right side, and the Twins medical staff will examine him further.
Twins remain invested in bringing out Arcia's potential

Twins remain invested in bringing out Arcia's potential

The team is demanding better defense and plate discipline from the 23-year-old outfielder.
After a year on the sidelines, Sano itching to show off

After a year on the sidelines, Sano itching to show off

Twins prospect Miguel Sano played his first game Wednesday in almost 17 months. He had Tommy John surgery on his elbow last last year.
Twins' Milone shows positive signs

Twins' Milone shows positive signs

Friday, Tommy Milone tossed two scoreless innings, giving up one hit, in a game the Twins eventually lost 2-1.
Twins sorting out a crowded bullpen as spring games begin

Twins sorting out a crowded bullpen as spring games begin

The Twins-Gophers exhibition game Wednesday kicked off the battle among relievers and more should appear Thursday in the Grapefruit League opener against Boston at Hammond Stadium.
Twins' Gibson hoping to develop more consistency

Twins' Gibson hoping to develop more consistency

Kyle Gibson is trying to build on the strong parts of his 2014 season.
Already in a groove: Initial results are positive for Mauer

Already in a groove: Initial results are positive for Mauer

Joe Mauer is healthy and so is his swing as he tries to bounce back from his worst season ever
Ryan and the Twins happy he's back in Florida

Ryan and the Twins happy he's back in Florida

Twins GM Terry Ryan missed last spring training as he recovered from squamous cell carcinoma on his neck.
As training camp opens, Molitor has an eye for detail

As training camp opens, Molitor has an eye for detail

The Twins' new manager strolled the fields Monday at the CenturyLink Sports Complex, observing his coaches as they ran drills and oversaw bullpen work. One thing evident to players is that Molitor is going to be a stickler.
One opening for five starters as Twins begin camp

One opening for five starters as Twins begin camp

The Twins open camp Monday when pitchers and catchers hit the sun-drenched fields at the newly renamed CenturyLink Sports Complex for their first official workout of 2015.
Torii going on 40: Hunter still has plenty of ball to be played

Torii going on 40: Hunter still has plenty of ball to be played

Torii Hunter is intent on being much more than a veteran mentor in his return to the Twins. He batted .286 with 17 home runs and 83 RBI last season with Detroit and wants to be a force on the field as well as in the clubhouse.
Twins' Mauer feels good, so Molitor does, too

Twins' Mauer feels good, so Molitor does, too

Joe Mauer won’t reveal the location where the meeting took place. He admitted it took place at a St. Paul restaurant where he likes to go and knows he can dine in relative peace. Paul Molitor sat across from him.
Twins notes: Molitor alters X's and O's

Twins notes: Molitor alters X's and O's

The new Twins manager is putting his own stamp on how his team defends.
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