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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
Oliva lays out AL pennant challenge to this year's Twins

Oliva lays out AL pennant challenge to this year's Twins

The Twins honored their 1965 AL championship team, which lost the World Series in seven games.
Twins notes: Pitchers get ahead in count but struggle to close deal

Twins notes: Pitchers get ahead in count but struggle to close deal

It happened during both games of the series with the Pirates. A Twins pitcher would get two strikes on a hitter but fail to put him away.
No relief: Another homer off Perkins sinks Twins

No relief: Another homer off Perkins sinks Twins

A ninth-inning blast by the Pirates' Jung Ho Kang defeated Glen Perkins and the Twins after they had rallied from a 7-3 deficit.
Foes' trades don't faze Terry Ryan

Foes' trades don't faze Terry Ryan

The Twins’ challenge to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2010 is getting tougher as the transactions roll in.
Santana's arm, Plouffe's bat end Twins losing streak

Santana's arm, Plouffe's bat end Twins losing streak

Trevor Plouffe hit his 13th home run of the season, a three-run blast in the fourth inning, and Ervin Santana pitched eight scoreless innings as the Twins avoided a sweep against the Angels.
Twins notes: Dozier-less lineup is a drastic change

Twins notes: Dozier-less lineup is a drastic change

Twins manager Paul Molitor is not afraid to shuffle his lineup, but the one he put out on Thursday was an eye-opener.
Losing streak reaches four as Twins struggle again

Losing streak reaches four as Twins struggle again

The Twins' post-All-Star woes got worse vs. L.A. on Wednesday, losing 5-2 to the Angels despite a brief early-game lead.
Twins notes: Scouting for missing pieces in the bullpen

Twins notes: Scouting for missing pieces in the bullpen

Indications are that finding bullpen help remains the Twins’ top priority as the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline approaches.
Shabby play continues for Twins in 7-0 loss to Angels

Shabby play continues for Twins in 7-0 loss to Angels

The Twins looked to pick themselves up off the ground after a blowout loss to Oakland on Sunday. Instead, they did a lot of things to reinforce their current state during a shutout loss to Los Angeles.
Twins notes: Sano's nearly ready to go after ankle injury

Twins notes: Sano's nearly ready to go after ankle injury

The Twins are convinced Miguel Sano will not be out for long and will not need a trip to the disabled list.
Sano sidelined by sprained ankle

Sano sidelined by sprained ankle

The Twins don’t believe the injury is severe. Sano was given crutches as he left the park Saturday night to keep his 260 pounds off his right ankle.
Sloppy play, feeble offense doom Twins in Oakland

Sloppy play, feeble offense doom Twins in Oakland

The Athletics slugged five homers in a 14-1 victory, including three off Twins starter Tommy Milone.
Ninth-inning rally wasted as Twins fall to Oakland

Ninth-inning rally wasted as Twins fall to Oakland

Glen Perkins had two outs and nobody on but blew his first save of the season.
Twins notes: Milone to face A's, his former team

Twins notes: Milone to face A's, his former team

Tommy Milone gets a chance to show his former team what it’s missing.
Torii Hunter feeling and hitting well as he turns 40

Torii Hunter feeling and hitting well as he turns 40

The second-oldest position player in baseball says he can play another season.
Kyle Cody, Twins' second-round pick, returns to Kentucky

Kyle Cody, Twins' second-round pick, returns to Kentucky

The 6-7, 240-pound pitcher will return for his senior season, frustrating Twins officials. They thought they were close to a deal, but they couldn’t wrap it up.
Catching Kansas City? Real work begins now for the Twins

Catching Kansas City? Real work begins now for the Twins

A team that entered the season trying to prove it wouldn’t lose 90 games for a fifth consecutive season is now taking aim at the defending American League champions
Twins' Dozier, Perkins make their mark in AL's All-Star victory

Twins' Dozier, Perkins make their mark in AL's All-Star victory

Brian Dozier's home run and Glen Perkins' pitching helped nail down an American League victory Tuesday.
MLB commissioner willing to meet, talk with Pete Rose

MLB commissioner willing to meet, talk with Pete Rose

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said he will need time to review Pete Rose’s voluminous case before meeting with him. Nothing has been scheduled for the near future.
Twins' Perkins might get AL's call for save again

Twins' Perkins might get AL's call for save again

The Twins' closer believes he'll pitch Tuesday in the All-Star Game. What’s not known if he’s going get the ball in the ninth inning in a save situation.
Twins top pitching prospect Jose Berrios grows hungrier

Twins top pitching prospect Jose Berrios grows hungrier

Jose Berrios appeared in his second straight Futures Game on Sunday and if he adjusts to hitters at Class AAA like he did at Class AA, he could be a candidate for a late season call-up with the Twins.
Dozier's walk-off homer caps stunning ninth-inning comeback

Dozier's walk-off homer caps stunning ninth-inning comeback

Brian Dozier drove fans wild with a three-run walk-off home run to cap an 8-6 victory that will go down as one of the games of the year.
Twins' Dozier finishes second to Moustakas in All-Star Final Vote

Twins' Dozier finishes second to Moustakas in All-Star Final Vote

Brian Dozier became the sixth Twins player in the Final Vote to not get the nod, as he finished second to the Royals' Mike Moustakas, who received an AL-record 19.3 million votes.
Sano, Twins roll to 8-3 win over Baltimore

Sano, Twins roll to 8-3 win over Baltimore

Miguel Sano’s first home run, Kyle Gibson’s solid start are keys to the win.
More Twins bullpen moves possible

More Twins bullpen moves possible

The team will try in-house solutions, but GM Terry Ryan isn't afraid to make a trade.
Dozier walk-off homer boosts Twins, All-Star bid

Dozier walk-off homer boosts Twins, All-Star bid

Brian Dozier began his Final Vote All-Star push with a walk-off home run to beat Baltimore in the 10th inning.
Twins pitcher Ricky Nolasco will have ankle surgery

Twins pitcher Ricky Nolasco will have ankle surgery

The bone fragment is causing pain when Nolasco tries to pitch. Rest, a cortisone injection and orthotics failed to alleviate the problem.
Twins set to sign shortstop prospect Javier for $4 million

Twins set to sign shortstop prospect Javier for $4 million

If Javier does sign for $4 million, it would be a club record bonus for an international player, surpassing the $3.1 million the club signed Miguel Sano for in 2009.
After delay, Twins trudge to messy win over Reds

After delay, Twins trudge to messy win over Reds

After waiting two hours to play, the Twins made three errors against the Reds but came away with an 8-5 victory.
Twins notes: Pitching prospect Berrios moving up to Class AAA

Twins notes: Pitching prospect Berrios moving up to Class AAA

Jose Berrios might have let the cat out of the bag a little early Tuesday, posting on twitter that he’s being promoted to Class AAA Rochester.
With Santana's return near, Molitor holds off on rotation decision

With Santana's return near, Molitor holds off on rotation decision

Twins manager Paul Molitor knows he’s running out of time on making an important decision regarding his rotation.
Twins can't outhit Pelfrey's poor pitching in loss

Twins can't outhit Pelfrey's poor pitching in loss

Cincinnati scored nine runs in the first three innings, eight of them off Mike Pelfrey. The Twins rallied and then stopped hitting.
Bullpen blunders late as Twins fall to Brewers 5-3

Bullpen blunders late as Twins fall to Brewers 5-3

Blaine Boyer gave up the tying run in the seventh inning before Casey Fien surrendered a pair of two-run homers in the eighth.
Quality start helps Milone's job security with Twins

Quality start helps Milone's job security with Twins

It once was hard for Tommy Milone to crack the rotation. Now it’s going to be difficult to take him out of it.
Twins ponder rotation with Santana

Twins ponder rotation with Santana

The suspended pitcher is in line to start July 5 at ­Kansas City. So the Twins have one week to figure out how to weave him into the rotation
Hunter, and Escobar, supply the home-run power as Twins beat Brewers 5-2

Hunter, and Escobar, supply the home-run power as Twins beat Brewers 5-2

Torii Hunter hit two home runs and appeared to play a role in a third.
Twins lose Buxton up to six weeks to sprained left thumb

Twins lose Buxton up to six weeks to sprained left thumb

It's the latest injury setback for the 21-year-old in his young career.
Ricky Nolasco's right ankle not improving

Ricky Nolasco's right ankle not improving

MILWAUKEE — The saga of Ricky Nolasco’s ankle injury took another turn Friday when the righthander had to abort a bullpen session when the discomfort…
Twins run into trouble on the bases vs. Cubs

Twins run into trouble on the bases vs. Cubs

The Twins’ outs on the basepaths piled up, especially late in a 4-1 extra-innings loss to the Cubs.
Twins expect to contend for Latin shortstop prospect Javier

Twins expect to contend for Latin shortstop prospect Javier

The first-year player draft has come and gone, but there’s another big date coming up on the calendar — and the Twins hope to land another potential impact player.
Twins notes: Rosario rewards team's faith

Twins notes: Rosario rewards team's faith

Torii Hunter did not play Friday against the Cubs, and the resulting batting order upheaval led to Eddie Rosario being placed in the No. 2 hole.
Twins return to form in victory over Cubs

Twins return to form in victory over Cubs

Trevor Plouffe doubled twice and drove in four runs in the Twins’ 7-2 victory over the bumbling Chicago Cubs in the opener of a three game interleague series at Target Field.
Walk-off wonder: Kennys Vargas homer gives Twins the win

Walk-off wonder: Kennys Vargas homer gives Twins the win

Joe Mauer hit a game-tying homer in the eighth to put a charge into the crowd. Then, slumping Kennys Vargas drove Twins fans wild with a walk-off home run in the ninth for a 2-1 win over St. Louis.
Twins notes: Pelfrey rebounds after Texas mess

Twins notes: Pelfrey rebounds after Texas mess

Mike Pelfrey said his start Saturday in Texas — when he was knocked out in the fourth inning and gave up eight earned runs — was one of his worst outings he could remember.
Twins pitching puts it together to top Cardinals

Twins pitching puts it together to top Cardinals

Tommy Milone’s strong start and Glen Perkins’ tense finish were key in Minnesota's victory over St. Louis on Wednesday.
Twins sign first-round draft pick Jay, will begin at Class A

Twins sign first-round draft pick Jay, will begin at Class A

The Twins will have Tyler Jay work out of the bullpen in his first season of professional baseball.
Twins notes: Torii Hunter's outburst has precedent from 2010

Twins notes: Torii Hunter's outburst has precedent from 2010

Torii Hunter's outburst Wednesday was not his first. Major League Baseball usually takes two to three business days to rule on punishments.
Polanco continues to work on defense; Stauffer gone

Polanco continues to work on defense; Stauffer gone

Is Jorge Polanco the Twins’ shortstop of the future?
Frustration boils over as Twins swept by Kansas City

Frustration boils over as Twins swept by Kansas City

Torii Hunter got ejected, and three Twins errors contributed to the Royals’ three-game sweep.
Twins focus on position players in draft's second day

Twins focus on position players in draft's second day

Six of their eight draft picks on Tuesday went away from the mound.
Twins draft Illinois lefty in first round, then right-hander from Wisconsin

Twins draft Illinois lefty in first round, then right-hander from Wisconsin

Some feel that University of Illinois pitcher Tyler Jay, taken No. 6 overall, could rise to the majors quickly as a reliever.
Will Twins roll dice with No. 6 pick in draft?

Will Twins roll dice with No. 6 pick in draft?

Pitcher Kolby Allard is tempting but has had back trouble. He's among the players being considered by the Twins with the No. 6 pick in baseball's amateur draft, which starts tonight.
Gomez leads Brewers' attack over Twins

Gomez leads Brewers' attack over Twins

Carlos Gomez had his ups and downs, but his ups lifted the Brewers to a series victory over the Twins.
Twins notes: DH remains a revolving door

Twins notes: DH remains a revolving door

The Twins are a National League team disguised as an American League one. Why? They don’t have a designated hitter.
Twins are overgenerous to neighbors in loss to Brewers

Twins are overgenerous to neighbors in loss to Brewers

The Twins’ late-inning mistakes handed Friday's game to the Brewers despite a five-run comeback.
Twins notes: Santana bummed by struggles

Twins notes: Santana bummed by struggles

Shortstop Danny Santana was on the bench for a second consecutive game Friday as the Twins try to figure out ways to keep his spirits up.
Smoking hot May ends with Twins in first after win

Smoking hot May ends with Twins in first after win

They dance, they horse around, they laugh — all while distancing themselves from four years of losing. That's the story right now for the first-place Twins.

Twins notes: Nolasco leaves early because of sore ankle

The righthander is day-to-day, but results of an MRI exam are pending:
Dozier's triple clinches win for Twins over Toronto

Dozier's triple clinches win for Twins over Toronto

Kyle Gibson lacked his best stuff Saturday, but Brian Dozier's RBI triple in the seventh inning put the Twins ahead.
Twins find ways to pile up runs en route to top

Twins find ways to pile up runs en route to top

Productive at-bats with runners in scoring position fuel Twins’ surge to first place in the AL Central.
Twins notes: Fien might return to a different role

Twins notes: Fien might return to a different role

The bullpen hasn’t skipped a beat while Casey Fien has recovered from a right shoulder strain. Now set to return, Fien will assume a different role for at least a little while.
Sweeping Boston moves Twins into tie for first place

Sweeping Boston moves Twins into tie for first place

The tie for the top of the AL Central is a result of how the Twins have been on a run of total baseball after looking overmatched during the first week of the season.
Twins complete 4-1 road trip by thumping White Sox

Twins complete 4-1 road trip by thumping White Sox

Kyle Gibson pitched eight strong innings and Brian Dozier homered twice as the Twins thumped the White Sox 8-1 to complete a 4-1 road trip.
Twins' Gibson remains on a roll

Twins' Gibson remains on a roll

Kyle Gibson could not get out of the fourth inning during his first start of the season, April 9 at Detroit. Since then, he has posted a 1.88 ERA.
Twins notes: Morneau hears from Mauer after concussion

Twins notes: Morneau hears from Mauer after concussion

The Twins first baseman has been hot, but Paul Molitor opted to give him a day off nonetheless.
Misplay ruins Hughes' day in loss to White Sox

Misplay ruins Hughes' day in loss to White Sox

The Twins jumped out to a 2-0 lead Friday night but allowed a run late as the White Sox took the first game of the weekend series 3-2.
Twins notes: Meyer sent to bullpen at Class AAA Rochester

Twins notes: Meyer sent to bullpen at Class AAA Rochester

Alex Meyer has been dropped to the bullpen at Class AAA Rochester, where the Twins hope he will make the adjustments necessary to get back in the rotation.
Twins notes: Stauffer activated

Twins notes: Stauffer activated

The Twins on Thursday activated righthander Tim Stauffer from the 15-day disabled list after he recovered from a strained right intercostal muscle.
Mauer's first home run gives Twins 13-inning win

Mauer's first home run gives Twins 13-inning win

For Joe Mauer, the career-longest power drought is over. He homered for the first time since Aug. 17 — 76 games and 322 plate appearances ago.
Molitor, Puckett, Harmon and more: Twins, Letterman go way back

Molitor, Puckett, Harmon and more: Twins, Letterman go way back

Twins manager Paul Molitor was twice a guest on the show, which ended its 33-year run Wednesday night.

Twins notes: Molitor talks shift strategy

Shifting defenses are now part of daily strategy.
Twins notes: Suspended Santana ramps up work

Twins notes: Suspended Santana ramps up work

Ervin Santana, serving an 80-game suspension after testing positive for a steroid, has been throwing in the bullpen and building toward facing live hitters next week.
Twins stay strong at home with win over Tampa Bay

Twins stay strong at home with win over Tampa Bay

Eduardo Escobar’s perfect day at the plate backed up Trevor May’s solid outing on the mound as the Twins secured another series victory at Target Field on Saturday.
Twins notes: Schafer on DL, Robinson back

Twins notes: Schafer on DL, Robinson back

The Twins placed outfielder Jordan Schafer on the 15-day disabled list because of a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee Saturday.
Rays credit Twins pitching coach Allen's influence

Rays credit Twins pitching coach Allen's influence

Before joining the Twins, pitching coach Neil Allen spent four seasons coaching the Rays’ top farm team, Class AAA Durham.
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