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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
One month down, nine games out: Twins have an uphill climb from here

One month down, nine games out: Twins have an uphill climb from here

The Twins blew the blueprint and made April a month of misery. They are 7-17 after the season's first month. The four other AL Central teams all have a winning record.
Handed early lead, Zimmermann shuts down reeling Twins

Handed early lead, Zimmermann shuts down reeling Twins

Three-run homer in Tigers first is plenty against a team hard-pressed to build rallies.

Twins notes: Duffey gives up long ball but is otherwise effective

Twins righthander Tyler Duffey gave up three runs in the first inning Saturday afternoon, but only one was earned, because of Eduardo Nunez's error.
Meyer is latest addition to Twins youthful rotation

Meyer is latest addition to Twins youthful rotation

Rookies Alex Meyer and Jose Berrios join Tyler Duffey, who has 62 innings in the majors, in the starting rotation. Meyer replaces Tommt Milone.
Tigers pitcher Fulmer powers past Twins in MLB debut

Tigers pitcher Fulmer powers past Twins in MLB debut

Phil Hughes gave up three runs in the first inning, all the Tigers needed Friday night to win the opener of a three-game series at Target Field.
Berrios starting tonight as veterans Gibson, Santana go on disabled list

Berrios starting tonight as veterans Gibson, Santana go on disabled list

In three starts with Rochester this season, 21-year-old Jose Berrios is 2-0 with a 1.06 ERA. He has struck out 20 batters and picked up where he left off after a strong 2015.
After blowing lead in top of ninth, Sano's walk-off single wins it

After blowing lead in top of ninth, Sano's walk-off single wins it

Miguel Sano's RBI single in the bottom of the ninth bailed out Twins closer Kevin Jepsen, who allowed Cleveland a game-tying home run with two outs in the top of the inning.
Line drive shortens Duffey's day as fill-in starter for Twins

Line drive shortens Duffey's day as fill-in starter for Twins

Twins fill-in starter Tyler Duffey gave up a run in the first inning, but he settled down after that until the fifth, when Matt den Dekker lined a pitch back up the middle that struck Duffey in his right shoulder.
Twins collapse twice, fall to Nationals in 16 innings

Twins collapse twice, fall to Nationals in 16 innings

A ninth-inning homer and a 15th-inning error led to a 16-inning loss, and a sweep.
Unhappy 18: Twins tie club record for K's in shutout loss

Unhappy 18: Twins tie club record for K's in shutout loss

Whiffs, combined with only two hits, sum up a day full of futility.
Twins notes: Out of necessity, Sano back at third base

Twins notes: Out of necessity, Sano back at third base

Manager Paul Molitor said certain events led to the decision use Sano at his old position.
Washington blasts winless and wild Gibson to beat Twins

Washington blasts winless and wild Gibson to beat Twins

The righthander was unable to control the strike zone or finish off hitters Friday, and it cost him and the Twins in an 8-4 loss to the Nationals. It dropped him to 0-3 this season.
Twins notes: With no DH, Park makes most of time on bench

Twins notes: With no DH, Park makes most of time on bench

Just when Byung Ho Park started to get hot at the plate, interleague play showed up to cool him off.
Error in right field wasn't Sano's only misplay in Brewers loss

Error in right field wasn't Sano's only misplay in Brewers loss

Miguel Sano's dropped line drive led to three Brewers runs Tuesday, and he also didn't deliver at the plate, where he's hitting under .200 for the season.
Twins' late rally can't mask mistakes in ninth-inning loss

Twins' late rally can't mask mistakes in ninth-inning loss

Crucial flaws at the plate and in the field on Thursday led to a 6-5 loss that ended the Twins' four-game winning streak.
Twins notes: Ervin Santana deals with rough first inning Tuesday

Twins notes: Ervin Santana deals with rough first inning Tuesday

The first three Brewers hitters reached base in the first inning, with runs scoring on Ryan Braun's single and Chris Carter's sacrifice fly.
Sweep of Angels breathes life back into Twins

Sweep of Angels breathes life back into Twins

Over the weekend, the Twins cut down on strikeouts, came up with clutch hits and showed their power potential while getting good pitching. The result was a three-game sweep of the Angels.
Strained muscle forces Twins to sideline Plouffe

Strained muscle forces Twins to sideline Plouffe

The Twins have won their past three games while Trevor Plouffe has gotten hot at the plate, going 8-for-12 in the three games with three doubles, a home run and four RBI.
Twins sign veteran outfielder David Murphy

Twins sign veteran outfielder David Murphy

David Murphy, 34, was signed to a minor-league deal but he isn't expected to stay with Class AAA Rochester long.
Failures continue: Twins drop to 0-8 with shutout loss to White Sox

Failures continue: Twins drop to 0-8 with shutout loss to White Sox

At this point, the Twins are looking for anything to get them out of their season-opening slump. Anything to ease the growing mental challenge of pretending nothing is wrong despite their record.
Twins offense is sputtering after first week

Twins offense is sputtering after first week

Their 0-7 start includes an offense averaging only 1.9 runs per game.
Nolasco's excellent start isn't rewarded with Twins victory

Nolasco's excellent start isn't rewarded with Twins victory

What will be overlooked among the mounting losses was one of Ricky Nolasco's best outings in his three seasons with the Twins.
Bullpen dooms Twins to first 0-6 start in team history in 10-inning loss

Bullpen dooms Twins to first 0-6 start in team history in 10-inning loss

Glen Perkins couldn't hold a two-run lead in the ninth, and the Twins lost in the 10th to cap a Royals sweep when Trevor May gave up a run without a hit.
Twins hit bottom, fall to 0-5 with shutout loss to Royals

Twins hit bottom, fall to 0-5 with shutout loss to Royals

A night full of errors, plus injury adds to the pain in the Twins' longest season-opening winless stretch.
Twins take note of season-ending injury to Cubs slugging outfielder

Twins take note of season-ending injury to Cubs slugging outfielder

The Twins saw an example of what could happen if Miguel Sano, in his formative stages as an outfielder, makes a misstep when the Cubs' Kyle Schwarber was injured.
Twins notes: Another outfield start for Danny Santana

Twins notes: Another outfield start for Danny Santana

Danny Santana on Friday started for a second game in a row as Twins manager Paul Molitor looks for ways to energize the offense.
Twins rally, then regress in 4-3 loss at KC

Twins rally, then regress in 4-3 loss at KC

The celebration of Byung Ho Park's first home run was cut short when the Royals rallied in the eighth inning against a Twins team that has already struck out 49 times on the young season.
It's a different Opening Day this year for Ervin Santana

It's a different Opening Day this year for Ervin Santana

At his time last year, the Twins were reeling from the 80-game drug suspension that was handed out the weekend before games began. "Bad times," he said. "But God only knows why things happen"
Twins major leaguers-in-waiting: Berrios, Kepler lead a talented list

Twins major leaguers-in-waiting: Berrios, Kepler lead a talented list

The latest wave of prospects, including pitcher Jose Berrios and outfielder Max Kepler, will be only a phone call away as the Twins expect a talented group of minor leaguers to play a role in 2016.
Houston's Carlos Correa wowed Twins officials

Houston's Carlos Correa wowed Twins officials

Astros shortstop Carlos Correa is everything you'd want in a budding star - and the Twins knew it back in 2012.
Twins want to avoid their recent trend of slow starts

Twins want to avoid their recent trend of slow starts

Everyone remembers their 1-6 start of a year ago and how it contributed to a 10-12 record in April. But it's just the latest in a Twins trend.
Dozier continues strong finish to spring as Twins win seventh straight

Dozier continues strong finish to spring as Twins win seventh straight

Over his past four games, Dozier is 6-for-13 with five runs scored and two RBI. He's not the only one hitting well lately for the Twins.
Twins aggressive early in winning seventh straight

Twins aggressive early in winning seventh straight

Brian Dozier and Danny Santana lead Twins' charge to early 3-0 lead.
Duffey, Nolasco both fail to impress in final spring audition

Duffey, Nolasco both fail to impress in final spring audition

Tyler Duffey offered an uneven performance, giving up four runs over four innings on four hits with three walks and two strikeouts. The Twins rallied to win 6-4.
Duffey vs. Nolasco: Young pitcher makes case for fifth starter spot

Duffey vs. Nolasco: Young pitcher makes case for fifth starter spot

Tyler Duffey will pitch Monday vs. Pittsburgh while veteran Ricky Nolasco will face a team of Baltimore minor-leaguers as their battle for a rotation spot is about to conclude.
Twins roster is coming into focus

Twins roster is coming into focus

Setting the bullpen and the rotation will come down to the final games of spring training.

Twins day at camp: Sano might have dented wall on double

One of the loudest sounds on Saturday happened when Miguel Sano squared up a pitch and drove it hard off the wall in left field for a double.
Pressly appears on rise out of Twins bullpen

Pressly appears on rise out of Twins bullpen

The righthander has recovered from a lat strain that cost him the final three months of last season. He has proved this spring that he's healthy and his stuff is as sharp as ever.

Minor-leaguer Palka belts two HRs for Twins in split squad win over Phillies

Daniel Palka was one of eight players brought over from the minor leagues Tuesday.
Twins lose to Yankees; Sano makes costly error in right

Twins lose to Yankees; Sano makes costly error in right

After a Sano fielding flub during their 6-4 loss to the Yankees on Sunday, Twins manager Paul Molitor was not concerned about how raw his new right fielder might be.
Morneau facing another lengthy rehab after off-season elbow surgery

Morneau facing another lengthy rehab after off-season elbow surgery

The 2008 AL MVP had elbow surgery during the offseason and won't be able to swing a bat until June. He's a free agent and is still hoping to play again.
Twins score most runs of spring, crush Orioles 14-5

Twins score most runs of spring, crush Orioles 14-5

Twins manager Paul Molitor saw some things he liked on Sunday during a 14-5 rout of the Orioles at Hammond Stadium.
Twins blast Orioles 14-5

Twins blast Orioles 14-5

Ricky Nolasco, fighting for a spot in the rotation, put the team in a 3-0 hole but recovered.
South Korea's MLB pipeline is growing

South Korea's MLB pipeline is growing

Their relationship with major league baseball has gotten only stronger in the past 10 years.
Twins lose to previously winless Baltimore 8-1

Twins lose to previously winless Baltimore 8-1

Someone had to lose to Baltimore before spring training ended. It just happened to be the Twins.
Park homers, Gibson labors as Miami beats Twins 6-5

Park homers, Gibson labors as Miami beats Twins 6-5

After throwing two shutout innings in his first outing, Gibson could not control his fastball on Friday and fell behind hitters. Byung Ho Park hit his third homer of the spring.
Graham drops 30 pounds, loses nothing from his fast ball

Graham drops 30 pounds, loses nothing from his fast ball

General manager Terry Ryan remembers telling former Twins pitcher Boof Bonser to lose some weight -- and watched the velocity on his fastball disappear, too.
'Blow up the radar gun': Live arms making bullpen life interesting

'Blow up the radar gun': Live arms making bullpen life interesting

The limits of the radar run reading at Hammond Stadium were tested when Nick Burdi entered the game over the weekend against Baltimore.
Tommy Milone trying to win the open spot in starting rotation

Tommy Milone trying to win the open spot in starting rotation

The veteran was 9-5 a year ago, but he is not guaranteed a spot in this season's Twins rotation.
Plouffe stays put — except during unplanned offseason move

Plouffe stays put — except during unplanned offseason move

Trevor Plouffe's job is secure; his winter living situation was considerably less stable.
As spring games begin for Twins, let questions (and answers) begin

As spring games begin for Twins, let questions (and answers) begin

The Twins will watch these five key story lines as spring training games start Wednesday in Florida.
Sano aims to show Twins he can handle outfield

Sano aims to show Twins he can handle outfield

Slugger Miguel Sano is being asked to move to right because the Twins don't want him to become a career DH and have an everyday third baseman in Trevor Plouffe.
Jose Berrios hopes his time with Twins is almost here

Jose Berrios hopes his time with Twins is almost here

The odds are not in his favor, as the Twins have experienced options in front of him. But Berrios might have more talent than any of them.
Suzuki's fine with splitting time at catcher for Twins

Suzuki's fine with splitting time at catcher for Twins

Do the Twins have a catcher controversy after bringing in John Ryan Murphy? No, says Kurt Suzuki.
Twins open camp looking for relief from the left

Twins open camp looking for relief from the left

Antonio Bastardo was available. Tony Sipp also was on the market. Maybe the Brewers would have parted with Will Smith in the right deal. The Twins passed on all of them.
Is 200 innings too much to ask for a Twins pitcher?

Is 200 innings too much to ask for a Twins pitcher?

Terry Ryan doesn't think so, but the mark has been an elusive one for Twins starters in recent years.
Glen Perkins: 'I could have been a difference maker ... and I wasn't'

Glen Perkins: 'I could have been a difference maker ... and I wasn't'

Glen Perkins' third All-Star season with Twins took a wrong turn in the middle of a playoff race. He's vowed to atone for last year's fade.
Molitor wants to fix last season's failures on the bases for Twins

Molitor wants to fix last season's failures on the bases for Twins

The Twins manager tried to address baserunning last season and saw it fail to meet his expectations on multiple levels.
Major League Baseball comes out of hibernation this week

Major League Baseball comes out of hibernation this week

Every team has questions heading into spring training. Here are 10 story lines to follow as pitchers and catchers begin workouts on sun-splashed fields
Sano not exactly downsized, but ready for switch to the outfield

Sano not exactly downsized, but ready for switch to the outfield

Miguel Sano entered the offseason with a diet and exercise plan to help him lose 20 pounds. That was the hope after he finished the 2015 season at 268 pounds.
Twins notes: Nolasco aims to earn starting role

Twins notes: Nolasco aims to earn starting role

Halfway through his four-year, $49 million contract, Twins righthander Ricky Nolasco knows he has not fulfilled his end of the deal.
Twins slugger Byung Ho Park gets acquainted with new team

Twins slugger Byung Ho Park gets acquainted with new team

This weekend marks Byung Ho Park's first interaction with Twins fans and teammates, and his first taste of what kind of baseball town he's in.
Molitor's goals for 2016 include more winning, more communication

Molitor's goals for 2016 include more winning, more communication

While last season was generally positive for manager Paul Moiltor, it didn't come without learning moments. And he knows that 2016 will bring a new set of challenges and higher expectations.
Royals still the team to beat in AL Central, but rivals closing the gap

Royals still the team to beat in AL Central, but rivals closing the gap

The majority of the roster that helped the Kansas City Royals win their first World Series championship since 1985 will return next season. But it won't be the same team.
Twins inivite former A's reliever, 21 others to spring training

Twins inivite former A's reliever, 21 others to spring training

The Twins on Thursday released a list of 22 players they will invite to spring training, including some interesting candidates for openings in the bullpen…
Molitor leaning towards having May in Twins bullpen

Molitor leaning towards having May in Twins bullpen

The Twins manager called the righthander Trevor May a "very valuable asset" in relief.
Miguel Sano decides to leave his winter league team

Miguel Sano decides to leave his winter league team

Miguel Sano has said losing 20 pounds and learning to play outfield are the priorities this offseason.
While others make moves, Twins quiet at winter meetings

While others make moves, Twins quiet at winter meetings

There's still plenty of offseason left, and the Twins previously added two new players in catcher John Ryan Murphy and designated hitter Byung Ho Park.
Short list: Twins search for left-handed relief continues

Short list: Twins search for left-handed relief continues

It's only one move, but it's a move that can come back to bite them — over and over again — if they don't get it right.
Molitor addresses Plouffe-Sano issue at winter meetings

Molitor addresses Plouffe-Sano issue at winter meetings

The Twins' offense struggled at times last season, and the Twins say they need both Trevor Plouffe and Miguel Sano in the lineup.
Cost of bullpen help figures to be high this offseason

Cost of bullpen help figures to be high this offseason

Trading for relief help could be a better option than a free-agent signing. One report has the Nationals willing to shop Drew Storen, who had 29 saves in 2015.
Newly retired Hunter looks back on baseball career

Newly retired Hunter looks back on baseball career

Ex-Twin got emotional as praise, tributes piled up.
Twins need to upgrade bullpen, catching to make 2016 run

Twins need to upgrade bullpen, catching to make 2016 run

Free agency starts Friday. Will the Twins be spending or watching?

Twins shake up communications departments in front office

Longtime employee Kevin Smith had his job eliminated as the club expands duties of Dustin Morse and Chris Iles.
Torii Hunter says it's time after his one-year encore with Twins

Torii Hunter says it's time after his one-year encore with Twins

The Twins star outfielder is closing the books on a 19-year major league career that included five All-Star Games and nine Gold Glove Awards.
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