The name's the same, and it's the St. Paul Saints' hope that so is the pitching prowess in Minnesota. The Saints last week signed Frank Viola III to their pitching staff. Viola, 26, is the son of 1988 Cy Young winner and 1987 World Series MVP Frank Viola of the Twins. The younger Viola -- unlike his dad, a righthander -- is on a comeback of sorts. He was drafted in the 29th round by the Chicago White Sox in 2004, and he played in their organization until injuries forced him out of baseball in 2007. Before the Saints took off for a road trip to Wichita last week, the Star Tribune's Brian Stensaas caught up with their newest pitcher.

Q This is a homecoming for you, right?

A Yup -- born and raised here, essentially. This is my favorite place on earth. It's been so great to us as a family ever since my dad did what he did out here. It feels like a home away from home if that makes any sense. I spent the first six years of my life back and forth between here and Orlando.

Q Did you always want to pitch?

A You know, I didn't. I wanted to hit until I found out I [stink]. So I stopped. But, if you give me 10 swings in batting practice, I'll hit three, four out. But the others aren't pretty. And if you put any kind of wrinkle on it, I won't touch it.

Q Did your dad teach you his changeup?

A He did. To be honest, though, I never really listened to my dad. I didn't listen to anybody; I took a lot for granted. And that was just part of being young. Now that I'm older ... I actually just within the last couple of months when I decided I wanted to make a comeback started listening to him, and it makes a big difference. My God -- it's Frank Viola, who wouldn't listen to him? I wish I would have started listening to him 26 years ago. Better now than never.

Q How did signing with the Saints come about?

A I was working on a website for my fishing show down in Florida, and I realized I can fish my entire life. I still have this opportunity to pitch. Unfinished business. I feel like I have something special to offer this game. I've never worked hard at baseball, always taken it for granted. Until the injuries, I pitched well for the White Sox [organization]. But I never gave it everything I got. And that's not a good feeling inside you. I didn't want to go out like that.

Q Is there a fun sibling rivalry between you and sisters Brittany (a world-class diver) and Kaley (a Division I volleyball player)?

A I gave up on that a long time ago. I worked out with Kaley the last two months, and she makes me look like an idiot. She's stronger than me, jumps higher, runs faster. And Brittany is in a league of her own. I'm the worst athlete in the family. Well -- other than my mom. Sorry, Mom.

Q Are you going to check out Target Field and relive some Twins memories?

A You know, this is going to sound stupid, but I was back in Orlando when the Yankees beat them in the last game at the Dome, and I cried. When I saw that, and I knew that I'd never pitch on the same mound my dad did here, it was a turning point. I thought that would be the coolest thing, and that opportunity is over. But Target Field looks nice. Maybe someday I'll be there and pitch to Drew Butera.