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
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.
Winning record in April gives Twins hope for the months to come

Winning record in April gives Twins hope for the months to come

The Twins are 12-11 after one month. Last season, they had lost 34 games before finally winning for the 12th time. It's the first time the Twins have reached May 1 with a winning record since 2010.
Hughes hasn't pitched great, but good enough for Twins to win

Hughes hasn't pitched great, but good enough for Twins to win

Hughes gave up two runs in the second inning to Kansas City, but Miguel Sano's three-run homer in the third put the Twins ahead for good in what wound up as a 7-5 victory over the Royals at Kauffman Stadium.
Sano's five-RBI afternoon gives Twins a winning record for April

Sano's five-RBI afternoon gives Twins a winning record for April

Fastballs, curveballs or changeups. Left field, center or right. Miguel Sano is not missing many pitches and is launching them all over ballparks.
Rosario's changes at the plate have driven 10-game hit streak

Rosario's changes at the plate have driven 10-game hit streak

Twins outfielder Eddie Rosario has begun to produce — and he's done it by using center field more. He had two hits on Friday to raise his batting average to .273.
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.
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