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

Duffey has rough outing as Pirates beat Twins

Taylor Rogers, Trevor Hildenberger and Tyler Kinley got in needed work as spring training nears an end.
Jorge Polanco has been suspended 80 games after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance. The commissioner's office announced the penalt

Polanco suspended 80 games and postseason for drug policy violation

Twins starting shortstop Jorge Polanco tested positive for stanozolol, a performance-enhancing substance that also led to the suspension of Twins pitcher Ervin Santana in 2015.
Twins pitcher Trevor Hildenberger.

Clean outing for Hildenberger an encouraging sign

The reliever threw a scoreless inning against Philadelphia.
Twins outfielder Byron Buxton.

Buxton propels Twins past Phillies

His bat and base-running shine in victory.
Shortstop Royce Lewis, 18, is ranked as the top overall prospect in the Twins organization by

Twins have no shortage of shortstops in their system

The Twins have a track record of drafting and signing shortstops, many of whom end up at another position when they reach the majors.
Righthander Phil Hughes gave up one run over four innings in the Twins’ 2-1 victory over the Yankees on Monday.

Hughes beats Yankees as he battles for spot in Twins' rotation

Phil Hughes gave up one run over four innings in the Twins' 2-1 victory.
Minnesota Twins' Eduardo Escobar

Twins jump on Red Sox early in 8-1 win; Escobar belts home run

Seven Twins batted in the first inning, scoring four runs to knock out Boston righthander Chandler Shepherd.

Twins at camp: Relievers seem to like possibility of riding cart into games

Twins relievers Tyler Duffey, Ryan Pressly and Trevor Hildenberger on Wednesday engaged in cart-related banter, joined at times by Zach Duke and Addison Reed.
In a span of three years, after Twins pitcher Aaron Slegers shot up from 6-2 to 6-10, injuries allowed him to pitch only 10⅓ innings.

Twins pitcher Slegers, at 6-10, is showing growth potential

Aaron Slegers went through a dramatic growth spurt - seven inches between junior and senior year of high school - that hindered his progress in baseball. But he's become something of a late bloomer.
Joe Mauer might split more time between first base and designated hitter with the arrival of Logan Morrison.

Biggest winner from Morrison joining Twins? Could it be Mauer?

Logan Morrison's arrival means Joe Mauer could spend more time as the Twins' designated hitter in 2018, with the result being fewer days off for the veteran.

Jose Berrios' second spring start for Twins sharper than first

He gave up three hits and pitched into the third inning against the Pirates.
Major League Baseball has tracked Byron Buxton’s sprint speed measurement at 30.2 feet per second, making the 24-year-old Twins center fielder the f

Size and speed: Buxton tries to become a thief of the highest order

Twins center fielder Byron Buxton spent the offseason working to merge superior speed with improved technique. He wants to pack on a few pounds, too.
Miguel Sano

Sano interviewed by MLB investigators in assault inquiry

Miguel Sano missed the Twins' workouts Tuesday after his representatives informed the team of his appointment with MLB's security departments
Justin Morneau joked behind the batting cage with fellow Twins special assistant Torii Hunter, two stars from the Twins’ teams of the 2000s.

Morneau settles into role as newest Twins' alumni 'coach'

Justin Morneau is joining Torii Hunter, LaTroy Hawkins and Michael Cuddyer as special assistants, which includes returning to the field at spring training.
Eddie Rosario made his way to left field during the Twins’ 4-3 loss to Boston on Friday to open Grapefruit League play at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers

What to keep an eye on as spring games begin for Twins

Now that the games have started in Florida, Paul Molitor and the Twins coaching staff will look to keep the team in line while monitoring several position battles and other issues.
Just-traded Jake Odorizzi got right to work endearing himself to Twins fans, signing a bat for Terry Finley of Finland, Minn.

Odorizzi joins Twins while drawing high praise

Chris Archer, now Jake Odorizzi's former Rays teammate, promises that the Twins are getting more than a midrotation stabilizer.
Jake Odorizzi was 10-8 with a 4.14 ERA with 127 strikeouts in 143 innings last year with the Rays, and the 27-year-old is 40-38 with a 3.83 ERA in his

Odorizzi fills a need for Twins, just not biggest one

The Twins didn't get the ace they want but got a solid rotation piece.
Anibal Sanchez pitched with the Detroit Tigers last season.

Twins willing to give veteran Sanchez a low-risk look

Anibal Sanchez is 28-35 with a 5.15 ERA over his past four seasons. He has been demoted to the bullpen, then to the minors. At age 34, he might not have much left to offer as a pitcher.
Twins veteran pitcher Phil Hughes said he was against MLB’s idea to limit mound visits from catchers.

MLB's pace of play proposals rile Twins

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred is prepared to announce pace-of-play changes in time for spring training games that begin next Friday — with or without union support.
Anibal Sanchez pitched for the Tigers in 2017.

Twins sign veteran pitcher Sanchez for spring training tryout

Anibal Sanchez, 33, pitched a no-hitter for the Marlins in 2006. Last season for the Tigers he was 3-7 with a 6.41 ERA for Detroit last season.
Twins pitcher Michale Kohn stretched with teammates on the first day of workouts in Fort Myers

Introductions in order on Day 1 of Twins camp

The first spring training workout of pitchers and catchers often is spent trying to figure out what new players are in camp. This year for the Twins, the turnover among the major and minor league coaching staffs is obvious.
Minnesota Twins third baseman Miguel Sano

Levine: Sano will report on time, cleared for baseball activities

Miguel Sano will report to Twins training camp Sunday with the rest of the position players while still being investigated by MLB for an alleged assault of a freelance photographer.
New Twins pitching coach Garvin Alston signed an autograph during TwinsFest at Target Field in January.

New Twins pitching coach looking for whatever works best

Garvin Alston plans to help each of the pitchers realize what works for them, then use that knowledge to try to shut down hitters.
One pitcher the Twins have targeted is Rays righthander Chris Archer, and the club made a trade offer as recently as two weeks ago, a source confirmed

Rays' Archer in Twins' sights as spring training nears

After failing to land Yu Darvish, who ended up signing with the Cubs, the Twins are looking at several other free-agent pitchers, as well as exploring trades with multiple teams.
Kyle Gibson

Position by position look at the 2018 Twins

What everyone will be watching when the Twins kick off spring training this week in Florida.
Glen Perkins

Perkins, Levine discuss front office role with Twins

The Twins already have Torii Hunter, Michael Cuddyer, LaTroy Hawkins and Justin Morneau as special assistants to baseball operations, but they will discuss adding recently retired Glen Perkins.
Glen Perkins, the local product who became a three-time All-Star as one of toughest lefthanded relievers in the game, is retiring.

Twins reliever Perkins retiring after 12 MLB seasons

Glen Perkins has been quiet since the end of the season, but general manager Thad Levine said on the Twins Caravan that the three-time All Star has decided to retire.
Vikings defensive end Brian Robison

End of the road? Several Vikings veterans mulling retirement

Thirtysomethings Newman, Berger, Robison to weigh pros and cons of return.
Righthander Kyle Gibson sat with teammates signing autographs at TwinsFest on Saturday at Target Field. Gibson could be the first Twins player to take

Twins, Gibson appear headed to arbitration over $355,000 dispute

Unable to reach an agreement on a contract for this season, Kyle Gibson and the Twins are headed to arbitration sometime next month.
Johan Santana

Johan Santana elected to Minnesota Twins' Hall of Fame

Santana won two Cy Young Awards with the Twins and was named three times to the American League All-Star team.
Jim Kaat won 25 games for the Twins in 1966.

Jim Kaat will join Twins as special assistant

The 79-year-old broadcaster pitched 25 seasons in the major leagues, including 15 with the Twins organization.
Twins owner Jim Pohlad shook hands with former first baseman Justin Morneau before Morneau's news conference officially announcing his retirement Wedn

Justin Morneau officially retires, joins Twins as special assistant

"I was fortunate to live my dream every day," said Justin Morneau, 36, the former Twins first baseman who was the American League MVP in 2006.
Veteran lefthander Zach Duke returned to pitch 27 games for St. Louis last season despite having Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery in Octo

Twins agree to terms with veteran lefthander Duke

The reliever had Tommy John surgery in October 2016 but returned to the major leagues last July.
Free agent Mike Napoli would fit as a righthanded bat off the bench, part-time first baseman, designated hitter — and leader.

Twins have interest in Napoli for hitting, clubhouse presence

The Twins have contacted Mike Napoli's agent about a contract for 2018, in hopes of reaching a deal that the veteran turned down last year when he went to Texas.
Twins are still part of the Yu Darvish sweepstakes

Twins are still part of the Yu Darvish sweepstakes

It could be another month before free-agent pitcher makes a decision.
Nick Burdi

Twins take Tyler Kinley in Rule 5 Draft, lose Burdi and Bard

With the third overall pick, the Phillies selected righthander Nick Burdi, the Twins' 46th overall pick in 2014.
Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Fernando Rodney celebrates after a game against the Kansas City Royals on Oct. 1. Rodney, 40, will sign with the T

Bullseye: Twins to sign veteran reliever Rodney

Fernando Rodney, who will be 41 on Opening Day, is headed for his 16th major league season and will play for his ninth team. He had 39 saves for Arizona last season.
Word spread on Tuesday when it was learned that former Rockies righthander Tyler Chatwood had a clause in his new Cubs contract that calls for a $2 mi

Winter Confidential: Day 3 with the Twins at the winter meetings

Word spread on Tuesday when it was learned that righthander Tyler Chatwood had a clause in his contract that calls for a $2 million salary increase, from $12 million to $14 million, if he received one — one! — vote for Cy Young.
Twins sidearmer Trevor Hildenberger appears best equipped to step into the closer role, but the team isn't likely to rush him or any other current ros

Twins trying to sort out their options for closing games

The team is interested in veteran Fernando Rodney and former closer Brandon Kintzler among others, while knowing that a future closer could already be in the organization.
Gabriel Moya is one of the young pitchers the Twins acquired who could be used to help bring a starting putcher in trade.

Restocking their system gives Twins some trade pieces this winter

Trading for a starting pitcher could require multiple prospects — and the Twins might have enough to make things interesting after acquiring young talent over the last several months.
Jack Morris

Morris tells writers no hard feelings over years of Hall of Fame snubs

Jack Morris and Alan Trammell went through 15 years of rejection by baseball writers on their ballots before they were voted in by a 16-person Hall of Fame committee.
Derek Falvey, left, and Thad Levine

Twins have new look, new attitude heading into winter meetings

With an emerging core of position players, Twins executives head to Florida this week for the annual winter meetings looking to make moves that could help them gain ground in the American League
Former Minnesota Twins pitcher Jack Morris

Jack Morris gets another shot at Baseball Hall of Fame

After falling short on the writers' ballot, his candidacy goes before the veterans committee.
David Banuelos of the Mariners' Class A Everett AquaSox has been acquired by the Twins in exchange for $1 million in international bonus money.

Twins get prospects from Mariners, Angels for international bonus money

If the Mariners or Angels end up landing Japanese star Shohei Ohtani, they can thank the Twins.
Kyle Gibson

Twins offer contracts to all their arbitration-eligible players

Kyle Gibson, Eduardo Escobar among six players in line to return in 2018.
FILE - In this Nov. 19, 2015, file photo, Japan's starter Shohei Ohtani pitches against South Korea during the first inning of their semifinal game at

Japanese star Ohtani will not sign with Twins

The Japanese pitcher-outfielder is mostly showing interest in teams on the West Coast.
Bob McClure was the Phillies pitching coach last season.

Twins hiring McClure as senior pitching adviser; Park departing

Former major leaguer Bob McClure will join the Twins as their senior pitching adviser, according to a source with knowledge of the hire.
Tampa Bay righthander Alex Cobb, 30, was 12-10 with a 3.66 ERA in 2017. He could be a prime free-agent target for the Twins.

Pitching appears to top Twins' priority list as free agency opens

Entering their second year in charge, Twins' baseball executives have made sweeping changes to every area of the organization — except to improve the roster.
Randy Rosario worked out during spring training in February in Fort Myers, Fla.

Twins lose Rosario, Palka to waiver claims

The Twins lost a pair of players who had been highly regarded in recent years.
Miguel Sano.

Twins expect Sano will be 'full go' for 2018 opener after surgery

After waiting a month following the Twins' final game, general manager Thad Levine said Miguel Sano's left shin had not improved much.
Manager Paul Molitor and the Twins will be back in Fort Myers in February.

Twins pitchers and catchers report to spring training Feb. 13

One day after the World Series ended, the Twins are thinking about next year.Pitchers and catchers report to Fort Myers, Fla., on Feb. 13, with…
Joe Vavra worked with Miguel Sano left and Eduardo Escobar during spring training in 2014.

Gardenhire lures Twins' bench coach Joe Vavra to Detroit

Just when the Twins thought their coaching staff for 2018 was in place, along comes Ron Gardenhire.
Garvin Alston

Twins name Garvin Alston pitching coach

Alston, 45, was the pitching rehab coordinator for the San Diego Padres last season and was Arizona's bullpen coach in 2016.
Brian Dozier was the Twins’ MVP for the second consecutive season.

Dozier is Twins' MVP again, Santana named top pitcher

Second baseman Brian Dozier also was a repeat winner of the Bob Allison Award for determination and leadership on and off the field.
Chris Bosio was fired as the Chicago Cubs pitching coach on Saturday.

Ex-Cubs pitching coach Bosio could join friend Molitor with Twins

The former Cubs pitching coach was teammates with Paul Molitor.
Glen Perkins took over with two out in the ninth inning of a game against Detroit on Sept. 30 in his final appearance for the Twins.

Twins buy out Perkins' 2018 option, making him a free agent

If the Twins don't invite Glen Perkins to training camp, he'll need to decide whether to try hooking on with another team after spending his 14-year career with one organization.
Carl Willis, right, was pitching coach for the AL East champion Red Sox this season.

Twins looking at Willis, Hickey for pitching coach position

The former Twins pitcher and ex-Rays coach Jim Hickey are among the top choices to take over Neil Allen's job.
The Minnesota Twins and chief baseball officer Derek Falvey announced the contract extension of the team's skipper Paul Molitor inside the Target Fiel

Molitor, Falvey built relationship even if it wasn't 'love at first sight'

Twins owner Jim Pohlad said he monitored how manager Paul Molitor and the team's top baseball executives worked together this season and liked what he saw.
Many believe Paul Molitor is a top contender for AL Manager of the Year honors.

Twins' turnaround gets Molitor new three-year contract

Pitching coach Neil Allen has been let go and the Twins have not yet announced the future of the rest of Paul Molitor's coaching staff.
Twins pitching coach Neil Allen talked with pitcher Adalberto Mejia during a game at Detroit in September.

Twins fire pitching coach Allen after announcing Molitor's new deal

Allen was at his home in Sarasota, Fla., when he was informed by the club that he would not be brought back.
Paul Molitor met the media in New York before the Twins’ playoff game this week.

No movement yet on deal for Twins manager Paul Molitor

The manager is in contract talks, but no announcement was made.
Twins manager Paul Molitor responded to questions during a news conference Monday in New York. He is negotiating a new deal with the Twins that will g

Molitor and Twins are working on new deal

After the manager lead the team into the AL wild-card game, Twins bosses Derek Falvey and Thad Levine want the 61-year-old to return for 2018.
Twins manager Paul Molitor had a meeting with team officials in his near-future.

With Twins season over, how much change ahead?

The future of manager Paul Molitor - and all Twins coaches - are being considered by bosses Derek Falvey and That Levine.
Minnesota Twins center fielder Byron Buxton crashes into center field wall while making the catch on on a fly ball by the New York Yankees' Todd Frazi

Buxton's injury leads to Granite's opportunity — and big mistake

Twins centerfielder Byron Buxton made a spectacular catch in the second inning, but left the game in the fourth. Zack Granite replaced him, and made a crucial baserunning error.
New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez, left, relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman, center, and starting pitcher Luis Severino (back to camera) clown around

'Big-time arms': Twins in for a battle with Yankees' bullpen

The Yankees have at least three relievers who would likely be closers on most other major league teams
Twins starting pitcher Ervin Santana

Twins lose but Santana shines in five-inning start in Cleveland

Ervin Santana was sharp for the Twins as he prepared for his wild card start on Tuesday.
The Minnesota Twins celebrate early Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017, in Cleveland. The Twins earned an AL wild-card berth after the Los Angeles Angels lost t

Twins clinch AL wild card despite 4-2 loss

Jorge Polanco's two-run shot in the top of the ninth was the only offense Minnesota could muster Wednesday, but they secured a playoff spot when the White Sox beat the Angels.
Miguel Sano

Twins 'hopeful' after still injured Sano takes 60 swings

Miguel Sano, recovering from a stress reaction in his left shin, took 60 swings at Target Field on Wednesday. It's the first time he's done anything baseball-related in two weeks.
Minnesota Twins' Brian Dozier (2) celebrates with Niko Goodrum (23) and Zack Granite (8) after hitting a three run home run off Cleveland Indians reli

Twins magic number down to 1 after dramatic victory in Cleveland

Brian Dozier launched a fastball into the seats in the eighth inning for a three-run homer to put the Twins, who used 10 pitchers in the 8-6 victory, on the doorstep of a postseason berth.
Minnesota Twins' Byron Buxton steals second base as Cleveland Indians' Francisco Lindor tries to apply the tag during the sixth inning in a baseball g

Twins, Indians both have postseason goals within reach

The Twins are within reach to clinch the AL's second wild card, while the Indians are after baseball's best record.
The Twins' Eduardo Escobar circled the bases after hitting a three-run home run during the sixth inning against the Detroit Tigers on Sunday.

Twins in driver's seat for wild-card berth entering season's final week

The twins are on the verge of being the first team to lose 100 games and make the playoffs the following season. It could happen tonight.
Minnesota Twins' Eduardo Escobar (5) is congratulated by manager Paul Molitor (4) after hitting a three-run home run during the sixth inning of a base

With Sano out, Escobar surprised by his burst of power

The Twins infielder belted a three-run homer during the Twins' five-run sixth inning that helped them put the Tigers away 10-4 on Sunday.
Minnesota Twins' Ehire Adrianza scores during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Detroit. (

Eight-run eighth inning lifts playoff-minded Twins to victory over Detroit

The Twins on Saturday couldn't do much vs. Tigers starter Matt Boyd, but feasted on the bullpen to win their third straight in Detroit and inch closer to a wild-card berth.
Twins executive vice president and chief baseball officer Derek Falvey.

Twins shift international focus more to Latin America

The Twins have casted their net worldwide to find players from Australia to South Africa. But that looks to be changing.
Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Kyle Gibson throws during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in

Gibson pitches Twins to victory over Detroit to pad wild-card lead

Behind seven effective innings from Kyle Gibson, the Twins beat Detroit and built their wild-card lead to 3½ games.
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