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.

Nick Punto returns to Hammond Stadium

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: March 5, 2012 - 9:50 PM

 The focus in St. Louis has been on the departures of first baseman Albert Pujols and manager Tony LaRussa. No one is focusing on Nick Punto popping up with Boston.

Punto joined the Cardinals for the 2011 season as a free agent following seven seasons with the Twins and quickly became one of the most well-liked players in the clubhouse. Yes, he landed on the disabled list again, but he was around for the postseason and won his first ring after playing in the ALDS in 2006 and 2009 with the Twins

In 63 regular season games, Punt batted .278 with a homer and 20 RBI. His .388 on base percentage was the best of his career.

``You get to this stage in the game and you want to do that again,'' Punto, 34, said. ``I've got a taste in my mouth of what it's like to be a world champ and I would like to do it again.''

Unfortunately, he had to part ways with Cardinals after the season, but Boston entered with a two-year, $3 million deal. And Punto has a chance to start at short.

I told him that when he left the Twins he took all the team defense with him.

``Naw, they will be fine,'' Punto said. ``It was just a down year. They have all the right people in place. They just have to stay healthy. You've got Mauer and Morneau healthy they will be right where they want to be.''

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HR: CLE- Y.Gomes (17) MIN- O.Arcia (13)

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Atlanta - WP: A. Harang 11 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: F. Liriano 3
Houston - WP: J. Fields 7 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: D. Robertson 4
Seattle - WP: H. Iwakuma 5 FINAL
Philadelphia - LP: A. Burnett 2
Arizona - LP: C. Anderson 1 FINAL
Washington - WP: S. Strasburg 8
LA Angels - WP: J. Smith 4 FINAL
Boston - LP: K. Uehara 3
Detroit - WP: J. Johnson 8 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: G. Balfour 6
Texas - LP: N. Cotts 3 FINAL
Miami - WP: S. Dyson 4
San Francisco 0 Delayed
Chicago Cubs 2
Baltimore - WP: C. Tillman 5 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: J. Quintana 1
Cleveland - WP: K. Crockett 7 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: B. Duensing 5
Toronto - LP: J. Happ 1 FINAL
Milwaukee - WP: M. Fiers 6
Cincinnati - LP: J. Hoover 4 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: P. Neshek 5
Kansas City - WP: J. Shields 7 FINAL
Colorado - LP: T. Matzek 4
NY Mets - LP: D. Gee 2 FINAL
Oakland - WP: S. Kazmir 6
San Diego - LP: I. Kennedy 6 FINAL
Los Angeles - WP: K. Correia 8
Pittsburgh 8/21/14 6:30 PM
Philadelphia
Carolina 8/22/14 6:30 PM
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NY Giants 8/22/14 6:30 PM
NY Jets
Jacksonville 8/22/14 6:30 PM
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Seattle
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Washington 8/23/14 6:30 PM
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St. Louis 8/23/14 7:00 PM
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Denver
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Montreal 8/22/14 7:30 PM
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Toronto 8/23/14 3:00 PM
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