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.

Twins postgame: Speed thrills, Worley sharp, Johan to O's?

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: March 3, 2014 - 5:15 PM

My neck is sore from watching Byron Buxton and Danny Santana round the bases during the Twins 9-2 win over Baltimore. The two burners took over the final two innings of the game. That's when Santana hit both his triples and  Buxton blasted a ground-rule double to straight center and should have been a triple if it had stayed in the park.

Darin Mastroianni, one of the fastest players on the team last season, was asked where he would finish in a race between himself, Byron Buxton and Danny Santana.

``I'm not beating Buxton,'' Mastroianni said. ``Maybe the first two steps but not after that. Watching him is a lot of fun. Danny reminds a lot of Ben (Revere), a shorter guy but with long legs. The same kind of strides.''

Jaws dropped as they sped around the bases, giving everyone a chance to see what's not too far away in the Twins farm system. Santana has been plagued by inconsistency through his pro career, but has made big strides the past two seasons and could debut this season. He still has to prove he can be consistent (he committed 32 errors last season) and he has to try to walk more than 29 times a season.

Buxton's ground rule double was hit over the head of outfielder Quntin Berry, which is no small feat. Buxton was pulling into second as the ball disappeared behind the wall. The speed is frightening.

Some other observations:

Vance Worley threw a ton of strikes during his three shutout innings on Monday. He sounded confident afterward that the old Vance is back. He's throwing the ball down in the zone and his pitches have the movement his expects. Let's see if he can keep it up.

Last year, Wilkin Ramirez batted .404 and won a spot on the roster. Here he comes again, as Ramirez was 3-for-4 with 4 RBI. He's off to a .571 start this spring.

Trevor May gave up one run over two innings on three hits but he tried to mix his pitches and hit his spots. It just didn't work out today. ``He threw a couple of really nice change ups,'' Gardy said after the game.

Mastroianni stole a home run from Nelson Cruz in the second as he reached above the wall as he bumped into it, making the catch.

Santana and Ramirez let a pop fly fall between them in the fourth inning. No one called for the ball or for the other to take the ball. Gardy said Santana felt Ramirez's presence in the area and backed off. If he yells. `take it,' then Ramirez has the green light to barrel in and make the play.

Reports out of Baltimore late in the game had free agent lefthander Johan Santana on the verge of signing a minor league deal with the Orioles. The Twins have shown plenty of interest in bringing back the two-time Cy Young winner but the sides couldn't agree on figures. Santana is months away from helping a team, but it's time for him to sign with someone and get around some rehab coordinators who are going to push him through the final stages of his comeback.

The Twins head to Jupiter tomorrow to play the Fighting Redmonds. Phil Miller will be at the keyboard tomorrow.

Tomorrow also is reporting day for Twins minor leaguers, who will get to see a remodeled facility,

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