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.

Pregame: Twins looking to win a series in Toronto

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: July 7, 2013 - 11:40 AM

 

Today was a day for talking about the past.

Justin Morneau sent Michael Cuddyer a text message yesterday to congratulate him for making the N.L. All Star team. Cuddy has been rolling for the Rockies, setting the club record for the longest hitting streak. Not a shabby feat for a franchise that had Larry Walker, Todd Helton, Andres Galarraga and other hitters.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was asked about seven former Twins players named to All-Star rosters. ``It shows that we had some pretty good teams,'' he said.

Oh, to get back to those days.

You think about those early Gardenhire-era teams, they didn't have a prospect that's getting the hype like Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton are right now. But those teams dominated the A.L. Central. It's great to develop stars, it's jsut as important to build teams. That brings us to this year's Twins team.

There's a whole lot of development going on right now. Young players learning how to be consistent, to not get too down or assume they have things figured out. The Twins are going to take their lumps this month because the schedule is tough. I like their chances next month with seven games against the Royals, six against the White Sox and three against Houston. Then whatever they can get out of Cleveland and Detroit.

Oswaldo Arcia is not in the starting lineup today after getting hit on the right hand with a pitch. He said he's good to go and Gardy said Arcia is available off the bench today.

Went over and said hello to R.A. Dickey today. He's loving Toronto and hoping the next three months will be better than the first three for the Blue Jays. I never understood why the Twins let Dickey go. They knew he was still developing his knuckler and seemed to be on board with giving him time to develop. Dickey said he knew his time was up when he wasn't called up in September of 2009. He said he had pitched decently against the Yankees and felt he could have been an option in the postseason that year. But Dickey moved on and enjoyed success with the Mets before joining the Blue Jays.

Twins go for the series win today before heading to Tampa.

Home run predictions: Morneau and Hicks.

Saw a fan with a Frank Menechino shirt on today. Wow.

Twins (37-47)

1. Brian Dozier, 2B
2. Joe Mauer, 1B
3. Ryan Doumit, C
4. Justin Morneau, DH
5. Trevor Plouffe, 3B
6. Chris Parmelee, RF
7. Clete Thomas, LF
8. Aaron Hicks, CF
9. Pedro Florimon, SS

Pitching: Scott Diamond, LHP

Toronto (42-45)

1. Jose Reyes, SS
2. Jose Bautista, RF
3. Edwin Encarnacion, 1B
4. Adam Lind, DH
5. Mark DeRosa, 3B
6. Rajai Davis, LF
7. Colby Rasmus, CF
8. J.P. Arrencibia, C
9. Maicer Izturis, 2B

Pitching: Todd Redmond, RHP

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