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
Sano's four RBI power Twins to comeback over Royals

Sano's four RBI power Twins to comeback over Royals

Miguel Sano came inches away from a grand slam before Joe Mauer delivered the go-ahead hit of the Twins' 6-4 victory.
Boshers returns to Twins after 'frustrating' demotion

Boshers returns to Twins after 'frustrating' demotion

Buddy Boshers pitched 2⅓ scoreless innings Sunday and was sent back to Rochester after the game. Now he's back, and understands the business.
Gibson's start in Kansas City could hold key to future in Twins rotation

Gibson's start in Kansas City could hold key to future in Twins rotation

Kyle Gibson might need a solid outing against the offensively challenged Royals on Friday to ensure his future in the rotation, team personnel have indicated.
Twins' sweep dream unravels as bullpen caves in against Texas

Twins' sweep dream unravels as bullpen caves in against Texas

Looking for their first three-game road sweep over the Rangers in decades, the Twins give away early 2-0 lead in a big way.
Santiago's bereavement leave from Twins creates bullpen option

Santiago's bereavement leave from Twins creates bullpen option

Hector Santiago will be away from the Twins after his grandmother passed away. Buddy Boshers is a fresh arm option.
After walks, Twins mash their way to 8-1 victory over Rangers

After walks, Twins mash their way to 8-1 victory over Rangers

A seven-run fifth inning, including a Miguel Sano home run and three straight doubles, produced a win over the Rangers.
Twins reliever O'Rourke will have season-ending elbow surgery

Twins reliever O'Rourke will have season-ending elbow surgery

Lefthanded reliever Ryan O'Rourke was diagnosed with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow. He'll be out until early next season.
Dozier's bases-clearing double lifts Twins over Rangers

Dozier's bases-clearing double lifts Twins over Rangers

Brian Dozier looked for a changeup from Rangers lefthander Martin Perez in the fifth inning Monday night, and guessed right.
Sano suspended one game, but Twins will appeal

Sano suspended one game, but Twins will appeal

Major League Baseball on Monday suspended Twins third baseman Miguel Sano one game for his role in a benches-clearing incident on Saturday against Detroit. Sano also was fined.
Twins make first roster moves of 2017 season

Twins make first roster moves of 2017 season

Justin Haley (10-day DL) and Adalberto Mejia (Class AAA Rochester) are out; lefthander Buddy Boshers and first baseman Kennys Vargas will be promoted.
Sano ejected as Twins fall to Tigers

Sano ejected as Twins fall to Tigers

Blowup erupted after Detroit's JaCoby Jones was hit in the face with a pitch.
'Aggravating' series ends with Twins swept by Cleveland

'Aggravating' series ends with Twins swept by Cleveland

The Twins blew leads in all three games against the Indians at Target Field, and have now lost four in a row to fall under .500 after a 4-0 start to the season.
Molitor's ejection sparked by 'inconsistencies' from umpire

Molitor's ejection sparked by 'inconsistencies' from umpire

The Twins weren't happy with home plate umpire Alan Porter's strike zone at times on Thursday, and Paul Molitor ultimately paid the price.
Twins put together a clunker, drop to .500 in 11-4 loss to Cleveland

Twins put together a clunker, drop to .500 in 11-4 loss to Cleveland

Max Kepler's gaffe in right field - dropping a routine fly ball - was just the start of the Twins' issues Tuesday night. The Twins have dropped from 5-1 to 7-7 in the last week.
Twins notes: Duffey takes bullpen role and runs with it

Twins notes: Duffey takes bullpen role and runs with it

Moved to the bullpen near the end of spring, Tyler Duffey has been a revelation during the early weeks of the season with 8 ⅔ scoreless innings, including 2 ⅔ on Monday against the Indians.
Twins give Dozier 'a day' to rest right knee

Twins give Dozier 'a day' to rest right knee

Twins second baseman Brian Dozier felt some discomfort in his knee Friday night, so the team elected to give him Saturday to rest though he was available to pinch hit.
Santana's 'special' one-hitter quiets White Sox bats

Santana's 'special' one-hitter quiets White Sox bats

The Twins scored five times in the bottom of the first inning and let ace pitcher Ervin Santana cruise from there Saturday against the White Sox at Target Field.
Twins lose series opener to White Sox on soggy night at Target Field

Twins lose series opener to White Sox on soggy night at Target Field

Rookie lefthander Adalberto Mejia took a step forward in second start, but the Twins's offense failed to gain traction in a 2-1 loss.
Three up, three down: Twins complete sweep over Royals

Three up, three down: Twins complete sweep over Royals

The Twins are 3-0 for the first time since 2007. Now off to Chicago for three with the White Sox, the good vibes flowed after a dominant series against the Royals.
Twins notes: Gibson's first start of season is mostly positive

Twins notes: Gibson's first start of season is mostly positive

In five-plus innings in Thursday's 5-3 victory over Kansas City, Kyle Gibson gave up three earned runs on five hits and two walks with five strikeouts.
Getting on base is strong point for Twins' DH Grossman

Getting on base is strong point for Twins' DH Grossman

Robbie Grossman's 14.1 percent walk rate led the Twins last season. He's a switch-hitter who is a career .286 against lefthanded pitchers but hit .344 against them in 2016.
Longtime bullpen coach Stelmaszek honored, upbeat in return to Target Field

Longtime bullpen coach Stelmaszek honored, upbeat in return to Target Field

The Twins honored Rick Stelmaszek, who is battling pancreatic cancer, with the first pitch on Opening Day.
Twins starter Phil Hughes says he's ready for regular season

Twins starter Phil Hughes says he's ready for regular season

Twins righthander Phil Hughes on Saturday threw four scoreless innings in a minor league game. But the bigger questions are if he is healthy, serious about throwing more changeups and ready for the regular season.
New leaders Falvey and Levine bring new minds to the Twins' game

New leaders Falvey and Levine bring new minds to the Twins' game

There has not been a makeover of the roster, although it might eventually happen. But there was an inside-out build at work in Fort Myers that will sweep through the minor league system and end up at 1 Twins Way.
Miguel Sano homers, Twins tie AAA team as exhibition season ends

Miguel Sano homers, Twins tie AAA team as exhibition season ends

The Twins completed spring training with a 3-3 tie against their Class AAA affiliate, the Rochester Red Wings, on Friday.
Keeping 13 pitchers result in Park's demotion to Rochester

Keeping 13 pitchers result in Park's demotion to Rochester

Twins Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey said the team began considering switching to a 13-man staff in recent days as concerns about pitchers were raised.
Will it be Wimmers? Relief hopeful tries to grab open bullpen spot

Will it be Wimmers? Relief hopeful tries to grab open bullpen spot

Alex Wimmers has given up two earned runs in nine innings of work this spring on eight hits and four walks while holding opponents to a .229 batting average.
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.
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