La Velle E. Neal III has covered baseball for the Star Tribune since 1998 (the post-Knoblauch era). Born and raised in Chicago, he grew up following the White Sox and hating the Cubs. 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 other hosts. Mark Rosen borrows him occasionally for WCCO-TV.

Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.

Butera optioned to Rochester, today's lineups

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: March 25, 2013 - 10:41 AM

 The Twins have optioned catcher Drew Butera to Class AAA Rochester and will start the season with two catchers on the major league roster.

The club also has reassigned Jeff Clement, Ray Olmedo, Brandon Boggs and. Dan Rohlfing to minor league camp. Rohlfing will remain in camp as an extra catcher.  That reduces the camp roster to 31. More on that later.

Butera has been a backup on the major league level since 2010. He is a splendid catcher. He calls good games and the pitchers loved working with him. He has an arm to shut down the running game - remember when he hit 94 mph last year when asked to pitch an inning in the blowout loss in Milwaukee?

But, despite his efforts and willingness to play winter ball, the man's offense just does not exist. Butera has a career .183. average. And the Twins wanted a bat on the bench.

The moves could be good news for outfielder Wilkin Ramirez, who now looks in line to make the team as an extra bat off the bench.

I did write in today's dead tree edition that teams have expressed interest in Butera. Some clubs are in awful catching situations (Baltimore) and are looking for help. It will be interesting to see if the Twins keep Butera or not. What they must prepare for now is when Joe Mauer or Ryan Doumit foul a ball off a foot or take a foul tip off a shoulder. With three catchers they could ride out those minor injuries. Now they must be ready to either pull the trigger on a DL move quicker or call up a catcher for an extra backup. I guess that would be the time to send a Ramirez down and call up a Butera.

Also, the Twins will risk having to give up the DH when Doumit or Mauer are DH-ing and whomever the catcher is that day breaks down during a game.

The Twins now have 31 players in camp -  but it's really 27 because Rafael Perez, Rich Harden, Tim Wood and Samuel Deduno are injured. Two more players have to be trimmed from the camp roster, and they will likely come from the group of P.J. Walters, Tyler Robertson and Liam Hendriks.


No DH for the Cardinals today.....

Cardinals

1. Daniel Descalso, SS
2. Shane Robinson, CF
3. Matt Carpenter, 2B
4. Matt Adams, 1B
5. Oscar Tavares, RF
6. Ty Wigginton, 3B
7. Adron Chambers, LF
8. Tony Cruz, C
9. Shelby Miller, RHP

Twins

1. Darin Mastroianni, CF
2. Jamey Carroll, 2B
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Josh Willingham, LF
5. Justin Morneau, 1B
6. Ryan Doumit, DH
7. Chris Parmelee, RF
8. Trevor Plouffe, 3B
9. Eduardo Escobar, SS

Pitching: Mike Pelfrey, RHP

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