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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 fall to season-worst 29 games under .500 after loss

Twins fall to season-worst 29 games under .500 after loss

Rookie Jose Berrios had the Twins down 6-0 after three innings but stayed in the game to get work and preserve the Twins bullpen.
Is there a place to set the pace of a baseball game?

Is there a place to set the pace of a baseball game?

With MLB games dragging again, Commissioner Rob Manfred pushes for a clock to speed pitchers along.
Santana's effort not enough as Royals sweep Twins

Santana's effort not enough as Royals sweep Twins

After a sharp outing goes for naught for the Twins, their manager says, "Our mental toughness needs to improve.''
Light aims to make better first impression with Twins

Light aims to make better first impression with Twins

Light made his debut April 26 when he was with the Red Sox but gave up two runs in one inning to the Braves. He was sent back to Class AAA Pawtucket but was summoned again a couple of months later. He made a relief appearance July 2 — when the Red Sox lost 21-2 to the Angels. He gave up five earned runs over 1 ⅔ innings.
Long delays, like Friday's Twins-Royals game, becoming more common

Long delays, like Friday's Twins-Royals game, becoming more common

There seems to be a growing aversion to playing doubleheaders because of the havoc they can create on a pitching staff.
Twins fall to Royals in 11 innings after lengthy delays

Twins fall to Royals in 11 innings after lengthy delays

Friday night's game turned into Saturday morning after it went into extra innings following a three-hour delay.
Twins ask Berrios to pick up the pace on the mound

Twins ask Berrios to pick up the pace on the mound

In an attempt to address some mechanical issues and improve his command, Twins pitching coach Neil Allen is ordering Jose Berrios to pick up the tempo
After three perfect innings, Duffey falls apart in loss to Royals

After three perfect innings, Duffey falls apart in loss to Royals

Twins starter Tyler Duffey retired the first 10 Royals batters but was gone from the game by the end of the fourth inning.
Gibson's complete game at Atlanta continues Twins' road dominance

Gibson's complete game at Atlanta continues Twins' road dominance

A sweep at Atlanta put the team's road record at 16-8 since the end of June.
Vargas makes most of limited opportunities with Twins

Vargas makes most of limited opportunities with Twins

Playing time has been scarce of late for big switch-hitting Kenny's Vargas. "It's part of the process," the 26-year-old said.
Mauer homers in win, says he's figured out what was wrong with swing

Mauer homers in win, says he's figured out what was wrong with swing

Is it the glasses? The rest? Nope. Joe Mauer has fixed his swing this month after noticing a flaw on video - and his numbers are rising, including a .516 on-base percentage this month.
Santana continues run of strong outings, Twins top Atlanta

Santana continues run of strong outings, Twins top Atlanta

Twins righthander Ervin Santana pitched seven shutout innings Tuesday against his old team in a 4-2 victory for the Twins.
Twins' search for new general manager could spill past season

Twins' search for new general manager could spill past season

"If you're going to consider candidates who are working for other teams, there's a process you must go through that is aimed toward being respectful," Twins president Dave St. Peter said.
Gibson can't stop slide as Twins fall to Royals

Gibson can't stop slide as Twins fall to Royals

Kyle Gibson wasn't able to end their losing streak.
Travel trouble leaves Twins shorthanded for Game 2

Travel trouble leaves Twins shorthanded for Game 2

Indications are the Twins intended to call up Pat Light, who was acquired from Boston for Fernando Abad, for Thursday's doubleheader. But Light's flight from Syracuse was canceled and he would not have arrived in time.
Double disaster for Twins as Houston scores 25 runs in sweep

Double disaster for Twins as Houston scores 25 runs in sweep

Both Twins starters were knocked out early and two pitchers are scheduled for MRIs today after reporting elbow and shoulder problems. Game 1 ended up with shortstop Eduardo Escobar on the mound.
Santiago gives up lead, loses in Target Field debut for Twins

Santiago gives up lead, loses in Target Field debut for Twins

Hector Santiago fell to 10-6 and is 0-2 in his two starts with the Twins after winning all six of his July starts while with the Angels.
Twins reliever Pressly handling increased workload

Twins reliever Pressly handling increased workload

Twins manager Paul Molitor has tried to avoid using Ryan Pressly in consecutive games, but he has used him that way four times over the past month.
Plouffe returns to Twins, knowing his everyday role is gone

Plouffe returns to Twins, knowing his everyday role is gone

Now fully healthy, Trevor Plouffe is ready to return to third base and be the everyday force that he wants to be. But that's not likely to happen.
Center field misadventures by Gomez lead to 3-1 Twins victory

Center field misadventures by Gomez lead to 3-1 Twins victory

An error and a horribly misjudged fly ball on consecutive plays by the former Twins center fielder led to all of Minnesota's runs on Monday night.
Twins engaging in lots of trade talk as deadline nears

Twins engaging in lots of trade talk as deadline nears

Righthander Ervin Santana, catcher Kurt Suzuki and relievers Brandon Kintzler and Fernando Abad have been the Twins mentioned most in trade rumblings.
Dozier's two homers help Twins hold off White Sox

Dozier's two homers help Twins hold off White Sox

Usually a second baseman, the veteran served as DH and delivered two homers.
Twins bullpen collapses, Morneau homers; White Sox win in 10

Twins bullpen collapses, Morneau homers; White Sox win in 10

Eduardo Escobar's three-run homer in the eighth gave the Twins a 5-4 lead and charged up the crowd. But he was a hero for only a few minutes.
Twins notes: Molitor seeks right fit for Polanco

Twins notes: Molitor seeks right fit for Polanco

Jorge Polanco was called up from Class AAA Rochester on Thursday when Eduardo Nunez was traded to San Francisco
Bottom battle ends with Twins getting swept by Atlanta

Bottom battle ends with Twins getting swept by Atlanta

Atlanta sprayed line drives all over Target Field on Wednesday night, knocking out Tyler Duffey early before holding on to beat the Twins 9-7
Future MVP Mauer still recalls World Series snub

Future MVP Mauer still recalls World Series snub

Game 7 of the 1991 World Series led to a night that Joe Mauer, 8 years old at the time, will never forget.
Suzuki eyes Tuesday return after stitches on the chin

Suzuki eyes Tuesday return after stitches on the chin

Catcher Kurt Suzuki did not start in Sunday's 8-7 loss to the Red Sox because of the cut he suffered on his chin the night before. But he hoped to return to the lineup Tuesday, when the Twins open a six-game homestand.
Another Sano error, Boston's homers too much for Twins to overcome

Another Sano error, Boston's homers too much for Twins to overcome

Miguel Sano's 10th error in his last 15 games at third base was followed by a three-run homer, the second allowed Sunday by Twins starter Tommy Milone.
Five-run seventh sends Twins to wild victory over Red Sox

Five-run seventh sends Twins to wild victory over Red Sox

In a franchise-record 4 hours, 11 minute game the Twins banged out 19 hits and got a big pick-me-up from a replay challenge.
Limit on number of relievers? Molitor calls it 'a little funny'

Limit on number of relievers? Molitor calls it 'a little funny'

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred reacted positively when a fan suggested reducing the number of relief pitchers used in an inning or game.
Gibson's strong outing holds up as Twins top Boston 2-1

Gibson's strong outing holds up as Twins top Boston 2-1

Behind Kyle Gibson's eight innings of two-hit baseball, the Twins shook off a blowout loss on Thursday by beating the Red Sox on Friday night.
Ortiz tees off on Twins in 13-2 Red Sox victory

Ortiz tees off on Twins in 13-2 Red Sox victory

The David Ortiz farewell tour continued to be a success with his 527th career home run Thursday night. Big Papi went 3-for-5 with four RBI to add to his gaudy career numbers against his former team.
Buxton's slump postpones his Fenway Park debut

Buxton's slump postpones his Fenway Park debut

Twins outfielder Byron Buxton practiced on fielding baseballs off the Green Monster, but putting those skills to work will have to wait.
Antony, Molitor compare notes as trade deadline approaches

Antony, Molitor compare notes as trade deadline approaches

Rob Antony and Paul Molitor have had several conversations as the Aug. 1 nonwaiver trade deadline approaches. Antony has spoken with several teams about potential trades.
Early, late home runs back Santana in Twins victory over Detroit

Early, late home runs back Santana in Twins victory over Detroit

Joe Mauer opened the scoring with a home run in the first inning and Max Kepler and Eddie Rosario added homers in the ninth to aid Ervin Santana's seven solid innings.
Milone's hot start gives Twins first victory of season over Detroit

Milone's hot start gives Twins first victory of season over Detroit

Twins pitcher Tommy Milone took a one-hitter into the eighth inning before weakening in the ninth. But he still won his third straight start.
Nolasco's effort wasted as Twins fall to Tigers

Nolasco's effort wasted as Twins fall to Tigers

Justin Upton's solo homer off Ricky Nolasco in the second inning resulted in the game's only run.
Bittersweet opportunity for Twins' Antony

Bittersweet opportunity for Twins' Antony

The interim GM has climbed up the Twins' ranks since being hired as a media intern in 1988.
Home groan: Twins have trouble drafting and developing starting pitchers

Home groan: Twins have trouble drafting and developing starting pitchers

Despite efforts by the organization to improve its scouting, drafting and development of starters, the Twins have not seen one of their draft picks blossom into a capable starter in some time.
'Surprised' Carew to have AL batting title in his name

'Surprised' Carew to have AL batting title in his name

Prior to the All-Star Game, MLB announced the AL batting title will now be named for former Twin and seven-time batting champ Rod Carew. The NL award will be named after Tony Gwynn.
Royals leave their mark on All-Star Game victory

Royals leave their mark on All-Star Game victory

Kansas City's Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez homered in a six-pitch span off former teammate Johnny Cueto in the second inning to guide the American League to a 4-2 victory.
Only Twins' All-Star? Nunez has lots of company in San Diego

Only Twins' All-Star? Nunez has lots of company in San Diego

Being able to a share his first All-State Game selection with a couple of his former Yankees teammates and other baseball friends enhances everything, the Twins' infielder said.
Santana sizzles from start to finish in 2-hit shutout

Santana sizzles from start to finish in 2-hit shutout

Ervin Santana was lights-out on clear day. Wednesday's gem was his first complete game shutout since June 16, 2012 against Arizona. For the Twins, it was the first complete game shutout since Andrew Albers in 2013.
Twins handle quick turnaround after late finish

Twins handle quick turnaround after late finish

The Twins technically won two games Wednesday, since Tuesday's delayed game ended around 1 a.m.
Long delay worth the wait as Twins rout Athletics

Long delay worth the wait as Twins rout Athletics

They blew out the A's after waiting nearly three hours for the rain to subside.
Nunez is Twins' lone All-Star

Nunez is Twins' lone All-Star

The team insisted he earned it and didn't land there because the rules say somebody must.
Twins put righthander Kevin Jepsen up for assignment

Twins put righthander Kevin Jepsen up for assignment

The club has 10 days to trade or release the nine-year veteran, whose $5.3 million salary won't help his value in a potential trade, before exposing him to waivers.
Max Kepler's record day powers Twins past Rangers

Max Kepler's record day powers Twins past Rangers

The RBI total in a blowout win set a Twins rookie record. Kepler helped the Twins achieve their highest run total since they scored 20 against the Tigers on Aug. 22, 2014.
Eduardo Escobar injures hamstring, is day-to-day

Eduardo Escobar injures hamstring, is day-to-day

Escobar injured his left hamstring as he slid across home plate in the first inning. He returned to the field in the second but grimaced in pain moments after he made contact on a flyout in the bottom of the inning.
Another Abad miscue sends Twins to another defeat

Another Abad miscue sends Twins to another defeat

He gave up a 10th-inning homer after the Twins wasted earlier chances.
MLB Insider: Indians fans hoping for a title, another parade

MLB Insider: Indians fans hoping for a title, another parade

And the Cleveland rotation might just be good enough to deliver one.
Surgery reveals Perkins had more shoulder damage than thought

Surgery reveals Perkins had more shoulder damage than thought

Glen Perkins' labrum had to be reattached to the bone during surgery Thursday. In many cases, that means around eight months for recovery.
A good surprise: Grossman has given Twins a spark

A good surprise: Grossman has given Twins a spark

With the Twins in need of outfield help, Robbie Grossman is taking advantage of an opportunity he didn't initially see in Minnesota.
Twins remain concerned with Buxton's strikeouts

Twins remain concerned with Buxton's strikeouts

Over his past 43 plate appearances, he has struck out 19 times, including seven times over the first three games of the series against the Yankees.
Plouffe's sweet slide ends another Twins losing slide

Plouffe's sweet slide ends another Twins losing slide

Trevor Plouffe avoided a tag to score in the fourth inning, helping the Twins to a 7-4 victory over the Yankees that ended a five-game losing streak.
Twins agree to terms with first-round draft pick

Twins agree to terms with first-round draft pick

The Twins have reached an agreement with outfielder Alex Kirilloff, their first-round pick from the June 9 draft, according to a source with knowledge of the talks.
Milone returns to Twins with aggressive approach

Milone returns to Twins with aggressive approach

A victim of the Twins' roster shake-up in May, Tommy Milone also floated through waivers unclaimed and was outrighthed to Class AAA Rochester on May 7.
Twins watch four-run lead melt into fifth straight loss

Twins watch four-run lead melt into fifth straight loss

New York scored all its runs over the final three innings and held on to win 7-6. The Twins have lost five consecutive games for the fourth time this season.
Santana keeps digging a hole, Twins can't get out in 5-4 loss

Santana keeps digging a hole, Twins can't get out in 5-4 loss

Ervin Santana gave up five runs and 10 hits to the Angels in five innings on Tuesday, and the Twins' Opening Day starter now has a 7.71 ERA in his last five starts. "They just seemed to get a lot of good swings," manager Paul Molitor said.
Dozier's average climbing as he starts pulling the ball less

Dozier's average climbing as he starts pulling the ball less

The second baseman batted .341 during the Twins' 10-game homestand and has a .231 average after Monday night's victory over the Angels.
Twins show their best again against Angels

Twins show their best again against Angels

Ricky Nolasco pitched six solid innings and Byron Buxton was among three Twins who homered in the 9-4 victory.
Twins select outfielder Alex Kirilloff with 15th pick in MLB draft

Twins select outfielder Alex Kirilloff with 15th pick in MLB draft

High school outfielder Alex Kirilloff is considered a bat-first prospect whose offense will be his ticket to the majors with the Twins.
Uncertainty at No. 15 leaves Twins first-round selection wide open

Uncertainty at No. 15 leaves Twins first-round selection wide open

There are some good high school arms and a few good college position players eligible for the MLB first-year player draft, but the consensus is no one stands out from the pack.
Twins debut new closing plan in 7-5 win over Marlins

Twins debut new closing plan in 7-5 win over Marlins

Trevor Plouffe and Brian Dozier delivered key hits for the Twins, who now have a closer by committee in Brandon Kintzler and Fernando Abad.
Gardenhire pays Twins a visit at Target Field

Gardenhire pays Twins a visit at Target Field

The former manager has watched many Twins games on television, and knows what his successor, Paul Molitor, is going through this trying season.
Interim Twins pitching coach Eric Rasmussen hardly had time to pack

Interim Twins pitching coach Eric Rasmussen hardly had time to pack

Rasmussen, the Twins minor league pitching coordinator since 2009, is the interim pitching coach while Neil Allen remains on indefinite suspension after his arrest on suspicion of drunken driving. Rasmussen was the Fort Myers pitching coach from 1999 to 2008.
Rays ruin Nolasco's strong start, sink Twins 4-2

Rays ruin Nolasco's strong start, sink Twins 4-2

Nolasco coasted into the eighth inning against the Rays, when he gave up three singles to yield the go-ahead run.
Twins notes: Sano's return from hamstring injury won't be rushed

Twins notes: Sano's return from hamstring injury won't be rushed

Miguel Sano has a moderate strain of his left hamstring, and Twins General Manager Terry Ryan said Friday that the right fielder will need longer than the minimum 15 days on the disabled list to recover.
Fifteen hits and fine relief give Twins a win over Tampa Bay

Fifteen hits and fine relief give Twins a win over Tampa Bay

Eduardo Nunez hit an inside-the-park home run and every player in the batting order had a hit as the Twins rallied after Phil Hughes was knocked out in the fifth inning.
Sore back postpones Gibson's expected return to Twins

Sore back postpones Gibson's expected return to Twins

The Twins want to make sure Kyle Gibson, who is 0-3 with a 6.10 ERA, has enough endurance to throw 90 pitches in a game before he's activated.
Kyle Gibson has sore back; Hughes will start tonight against Rays

Kyle Gibson has sore back; Hughes will start tonight against Rays

Gibson was to make his first start since April 22 after recovering from shoulder soreness, but the Twins announced this morning that his back is bothering him.
Twins suspend pitching coach Neil Allen after DWI arrest

Twins suspend pitching coach Neil Allen after DWI arrest

According to the incident report, Allen was stopped by officers for the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office at around 2 a.m. Thursday at 6th Street S. and Park Avenue.
Brunansky knows spotlight is on him as Twins hitters struggle

Brunansky knows spotlight is on him as Twins hitters struggle

This is not the Twins offense hitting coach Tom Brunansky expected to see coming out of spring training, and he is constantly searching for ways to re-program hitters who have gotten away from what they do well.
Twins notes: Dozier, Sano end power slumps

Twins notes: Dozier, Sano end power slumps

The Twins hit three home runs Wednesday, including ones by Brian Dozier and Miguel Sano that, at least for a game, silenced the critics.
Surviving ugly inning, Duffey first Twins starter to get second win

Surviving ugly inning, Duffey first Twins starter to get second win

After giving up five runs in the fourth inning, which included an odd balk, Tyler Duffey pitched until he was lifted with two outs and two runners on in the seventh.
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