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 camp Day 8: Pinto, collisions, Mastro, Ullger

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: February 24, 2014 - 8:55 AM


Josmil Pinto had a  bat in his hands before Monday's workout.

``I'm going to take a couple swings and see how it feels,'' he said.

Pinto was held out of workouts last week and the first two full-squad workouts because of a sore back. He's starting to feel better - which is why he headed to the batting cages on Monday - but he's still not sure when he will be able to participate in all the drills.

So it's looking doubtful that Pinto will be ready to play this weekend when the spring training games start. But that's Dr. Neal talking. We'll check on him after the workout.

Vance Worley, Anthony Swarzak, Kyle Gibson and Lester Oliveros are among pitchers throwing live batting practice today.

Other items this morning:

Today is mandatory blood testing day at Fort Myers, in accordance with MLB's drug testing policy.

The league could announce as soon as today that home plate collisions will be banned.

Darin Mastroianni, coming back after surgery on his left foot, has been held out of some running drills but expects to be a full go when spring training games start on Friday.

First base coach Scott Ullger has handed over his No. 45 to Phil Hughes, who gave Ullger a driver, 3-wood and putter in exchange for his preferred number. Ullger has cashed in big-time with No. 45. Terry Mullholland, who pitched for the Twins in 2004 and 2005, gave Ullger an entire set of clubs for the number. Ullger will wear No. 41 this season.

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