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.

Morales in lineup vs R.A. Dickey and Blue Jays tonight in Toronto

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: June 9, 2014 - 5:29 PM


Kendrys Morales is tired of watching games.

He contacted one of the coaches last night - the guess here it was Bobby Cuellar - and told him to tell manager Ron Gardenhire that he was ready to play. So Morales, who has not played an organized game of baseball since Sept, 29, in tonight's lineup. The rust gets knocked off starting tonight.

``He's been sitting for four months,'' Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. ``He's thought about it. He watched the game yesterday and he wants to play. I'vve got no problem with that. I told him he's got to let me know how he's feeling.''

Morales has been working out at Scott Boras' facility in Florida facing some pitching down there and working out six days a week. Will that be enough for him to shorten this adjustment period? We will see.

``Hopefully he will hit three home runs, and we'll go from there,'' Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.

Morales is out of options and can't go down to the minors to get ready. So the Twins are in unchartered territory.

``I have never done this before,'' Gardy said. ``He wants to play. He's been working out. He's been swinging against pitchers down there, in Florida. Against guys who are looking for jobs. And he's been hitting off those guys, it's good enough for me. You can wait wo weeks. You can wait three or four days. I don't have a timeframe. He's been working out.

``Here we are. We put him in there. I'm excited about it. It gives me something to be more entertained about..''

With Kendrys Morales at DH, Oswaldo Arcia had to returnt to right field on Monday. Arcia injured his right ankle on Thursday, so his range might be limited. But Gardenhire said he's moving well enough to play the outfield.

``He came out (early) today,'' Gardenhire said. ``He missed all the balls he would normally miss in the game.''

Another thing to watch in tonight's game, which could affect Arcia: The FieldTurf. The field was reconditoned with fresh recycled tire chips before the season, and  balls are bouncing much higher. ``I haven't seen this field bounce like that.''

Aaron Hicks injured his right shoulder while diving for a ball late in Sunday's game and it's affecting his throwing. ``He's available to run and maybe hit but I don't think the throwing is totally ready.'' This should be Hicks' last few days with the major league team. As soon as Sam Fuld is ready to be called up, they will likely send Hicks down then. Fuld is at New Britain, so it won't be hard for him to meet the team in Boston.

Mike Pelfrey was checked out by Dr. James Andrews today in Pensacola, Fla. Andrews is going to compare his notes with the Twins during a phone conference tonight, so we should know more tomorrow.

Joe Mauer is back in the lineup today. Gardy said he gave Mauer a mental day off more than anything.

Twins (29-32)

Danny Santana, CF
Brian Dozier, 2B
Joe Mauer, 1B
Josh Willingham, LF
Oswaldo Arcia, RF
Kendrys Morales, DH
Trevor Plouffe, 3B
Kurt Suzuki, C
Eduardo Escobar, SS

Ricky Nolasco. RHP

Toronto (38-26)

Jose Reyes, SS
Melky Cabrera, LF
Jose Bautista, RF
Adam Lind, DH
Edwin Encarnacion, 1B
Juan Francisco, 3B
Brett Lawrie, 2B
Jose Thole, C
Anthony Gose, CF

R. A. Dickey, CF

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