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.

Some Sunday evening Twins notes

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: February 17, 2013 - 6:10 PM

If it makes you feel better, we were cold, too, today, as temperatures were in the 40's for most of the morning workout.

But the Twins got in all of their work on Sunday and now look forward to Monday, when pitchers will throw live batting practice.

``It’s what we wanted and we have the physicals in the morning so we have to wait until that’s done,'' Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. ``So we’ll get out when we get out which is kind of a blessing because it’s supposed to be chilly in the morning. So we’ll be in the clubhouse waiting until the physicals are done and then we’ll do some live BP and go through all of our drills full-squad. So that’ll be fun. I’ll get a chance to see position players, which I haven’t seen.”

POP-UP CAPERS: A strong breeze backed up the chilly temps, which didn't help. That breeze also made for some adventures during pop-up drills. Coach Terry Steinbach used a pitching machine to propel baseballs into the sky, and the wind had its way with all of them.

``Yeah, that and the operator was trying to hit himself in the head,'' Gardy said. ``Steiny shot three balls up that hit the machine. The wind and the high sky where the ball looks like a golf up high up there and Steiny hitting the machine, all of those made for elements that made it tough. But it was good to get guys on the main stadium so that guys know the distance and all that. So it was a good drill for them. But it’s tough. You saw Bruno didn’t close to any of those balls.”

Yes, hitting coach Tom Brunansky jumped in for some drills and ended up being comic relief. But several catchers dropped or whiffed on pop-ups, including Joe Mauer.

I felt bad for young catcher Eric Fryer. Steinbach shoots a ball into the sky, but it comes back right on top of the machine, and Steinbach had to block Fryer from backing into it. Second chance, same thing happened. Gardy now is throwing his hands up in the air. Third time, the ball isn't near the machine, but Fryer flat-out misses the ball and trudges back to the end of the line.

HAPPY TO BE HERE: Just a quick note about first baseman Chris Colabello. He's 29 and not a prospect - but a super guy. I chatted with him a few days ago about his winter ball experience in Mexico because he tore it up, batting .332 with 17 homers and 44 RBI in 57 games for Gusave. He will leave camp to play for Italy in the World Baseball Classic. The Twins signed him a year ago and he spent the season at Class AA New Britain (.284-19-98). Now he's ticketed for Class AAA Rochester. But he didn't care where he started the season.

``Two years ago, I was in the independent league,'' Colabello said, ``now my locker is next to Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau. It's hard to come in here and not smile every day.''

INJURY UPDATE: Trevor Plouffe was a spectator during drills today because of a sore right calf but is expected to be fine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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