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.

Twins camp Day 5, afternoon update: Antony, Pinto, Dozier

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: February 21, 2014 - 3:05 PM


Everything is set for the Twins' first full squad workout of 2014. tomorrow. There will be a meeting Saturday morning, followed by stretching then drills then a little live batting practice. This is the time of year when pitchers are ahead of hitters, so there won't be a lot of solid contact.

Still, it will be fun to see Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton take their swings as first-timers in camp. It will be neat to see if Jason Kubel still has the pop in his  bat after a terrible 2013 season. And it will be Jason Bartlett's first batting practice with a team in a year and a half.

With Terry Ryan back in the Twin Cities recovering from cancer surgery, assistant GM Rob Antony will pinch hit for him when it's time to speak on behalf of the organization.

``I'm not going to give a Knute Rockne type speech,'' Antony said. ``I've got copies of Terry's speeches from the past few years. And there are some things I'd like to address and make sure the players know what's expected of them.''

Antony has been present for Ryan's speeches through the years and expects to carry out the duties without a hitch. Once the speeches have been completed, the workout of the year will commence, and the countdown to the spring training opener on Friday will begin.
 
PROGRAMMING NOTE

The MLB Network has announced that it will televise two Twins spring training games live: Mar. 17 at Baltimore and Mar. 19 at St Louis. Four other games will be replayed. This is in addition to Fox Sports North televising every spring training home game at Hammond Stadium.

INJURY UPDATES

Twins bench coach Terry Steinbach ran pop up drills for the catchers on Friday - for everyone except Josmil Pinto.
Josmil Pinto was held out of drills because of a stiff back. The Twins said the move was precautionary and hoped that Pinto would be able to participate in drills on Saturday. ``We'll see how he feels (Saturday),'' Gardenhire said. ``He's just a little sore.''

Second baseman Brian Dozier, who has been held out of drills because of his own sore back, is expected to participate in drills tomorrow.
``We’ll be guarded but he feels a lot better,'' Gardenhire said. ``We don’t want him to fall back into it. We’ll have him take it nice and easy with all the drills.”

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