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.

Twins afternoon update: Florimon, Suzuki, Kubel

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: February 20, 2014 - 3:23 PM

FLORIMON GRATEFUL

Shortstop Pedro Flormion on Thursday returned to the Twins clubhouse for the first time since having his appendix removed on Monday. He said he went to bed at around 10:40 p.m. Sunday but woke up around a little before 2 a.m. in serious discomfort. He went down to the lobby of the hotel he's staying at for medication. That didn't work.
``I had to call somebody,'' Florimon said. ``The first number I saw was Mike.''
That was Mike Herman, the Twins director of team travel, who picked up Florimon and took him to a local hospital, where he was diagnosed with an inflamed appendix. The laparoscopic procedure requires about two weeks of rest before he can start any activities. He cannot lift any weights right now.
``They will see what will happen over the next couple of days.'' Florimon said of the Twins medical staff. Florimon is scheduled to be checked out again on Saturday.
Florimon will miss several spring training games but expects to be ready for the start of the regular season.
``I will be ready for Opening Day,'' Florimon said.

SUZUKI SETTLES IN

Gardenhire has been pleased with what he has seen from new catcher Kurt Suzuki as he learns how to work with a new pitching staff,
``Well, that is what he does,'' Gardenhire said. ``He's been around a long time but he is still a young man. He's been around a long time and he knows what he needs to do. You don't have to talk to him about what he needs to do to get ready here. He's doing it on his own. He's telling us the drills that he likes to do. He's telling us what he's done in the past. Believe me he wants to see all the pitchers. That's the greatest thing about it,he's come in here and he knows what he needs to do to get ready.
`` The more we go in spring training we'll fall back on who he hasn't seen.  How much he's caught this guy and all those things. But he moves around there pretty good back there and he moves around with all the pitchers. He's getting to know them, so he has a pretty good plan. Fun to talk to.''

GARDY HIGH ON KUBEL

You would think that Jason Kubel would have to win a spot on the roster this spring, especially after batting just .216 between Arizona and Cleveland last season.
But Gardy is convinced that Kubel will get his mojo back with the Twins this season and boost the offense.
``We brought him here for a reason,'' Gardy said. ``We need a bat. We need some experience, whether it's on the bench or in the field. We need guys who know how to win, how to play. And this guy can do all those things. We watched him do it. At one point he was one of our best hitters in the organization. He's still got a lot left in him, he's healthy. His legs are healthy. He's in great shape. We are excited to have him in camp, now we will see what he does on the field. I'm hoping that he's a big part of this ballclub.''
Kubel's role has yet to be determined, but a platoon in either right field or designated hitter is possible.

ETC.

Brian Dozier has  been bothered by a sore back, so he has been shut down until Saturday's first full-squad workout. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said Dozier has been doing much better in recent days.

Chris Parmelee continues to ice his right wrist and forearm but should be O.K.

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