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: Plenty going on besides 3-1 loss to Cardinals

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: March 19, 2014 - 5:31 PM

Before the game recap....


Twins outfield prospect Byron Buxton hasn't played since Sunday, when he dived after a ball and sprained his left wrist. Brad Steil, the Twins' director of minor league operations, said Buxton is considered day-to-day.
Buxton was invited to major league camp and showed all of his talents before being cut on March 9. After rejecting possibility that he could reach the majors this season, I have changed my mind and expect the Twins to call him up during the second half of the season.


The Twins are following the competitions for some roster spots in which no one stands out - and there's 10 days left before they head to Chicago to open the season against the White Sox. It led to a blunt assessment of some camp battles from assistant General Manager Rob Antony.
``I wish some guys would step up and earn a job,'' Antony said. ``No one is really doing that. All these guys who are in competition. Hicks hasn't been anything special this spring. Neither has Presley in center field. So there's your centerfield battle.''
Hicks entered Wednesday batting .269 in spring games. He went 1-for-2 with a walk and bloop single on Wednesday. Presley was batting .167 and 0-for-3 in stolen base attempts.
Antony moved on to the race for the final spot in the starting rotation,
``(Samuel) Deduno has done a nice job and (Kyle) Gibson's going today.,'' he said. ``(Vance) Worley didn't help himself at all (Tuesday). (Scott) Diamond has just been fair. So nobody has really stepped up to try and earn the spot. That's a bad feeling when you're looking at giving spots away.''
Gibson helped his cause by holding the Cardinals to one run over 41/3 innings on Wednesday. Deduno gave up two runs Wednesday over 22/3 innings, but manager Ron Gardenhire felt he threw the ball well. Worley, however, has a 13.50 ERA this spring while Diamond is 1-0, 5.59.
Antony continued to competition for bench spots.
``(Jason) Kubel hasn't been very good,'' Antony said. ``I think he's got a hit (actually two) all spring. (Jason) Bartlett is hitless. (Eduardo) Escobar has had defensive lapses and made mistakes in the field. So these are the guys battling for a utility spot, so it's hard to get excited and say, `this is our guy,' when no one is doing particularly well.''
Antony spoke before Bartlett got this first hit of the spring, a hard single to right during a hit-and-run in the sixth that led to the Twins'  first run. But Antony's disappointment was obvious as he calls for someone to step up.

Different opinions

Antony's comments came during a discussion about the differences in opinion that pop up between managers and the front office at this time of year. For instance, Gardenhire is pushing for Jason Bartlett, who just got his first hit of spring on Wednesday.
``He's very confident he's had a positive attitude,'' Gardenhire said. ``We'll see. There's some arguing going on. I hope I win.''
Gardenhire was asked if a manager should worry about things GM's worry about, like who's out of options. The Twins have eight such players in camp.
``I understand all that stuff,'' he said. ``Options are deceiving  because if you are out of options that means you had chances, you had lots of opportunities.
``They are deceiving. They don't deceive me. They are in my way, let's put it that way.''


Righthander Kyle Gibson pitched well once again. He said the stiff wind at his back flattened out his sinker some, but he was able to make adjustments and put together another strong outing - one earned run over 41/3 innings. And this game against a Cardinal team that had Matt Carpenter, Matt Holiday, Allen Craig and other regulars in it.

Gibson is pushing hard for a roster spot, whether it's in the rotation or bullpen.

Righthander Samuel Deduno retired the first six batters he faced before Peter Bourjos led off the eighth with a double. Deduno walked the next batter, and those two baserunners eventually came around to score. Deduno's ERA rose from 0.93 to 2.19 but the Twins remain pleased with his spring so far.

I can see a scenario in which Gibson is the fifth starter and Deduno works out of the bullpen. Deduno has relieved some in the minors, and he's coming off of shoulder surgery. The Twins did stretch him out on Wednesday but they haven't given him a start yet. ``I missed a couple pitches and they hit them pretty good,'' Deduno said, ``but I'm feeling very good.''

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire joked that they gave Jason Bartlett a game ball for finally getting his first hit in 30 plate appearances this spring. Bartlett singled hard to right field as Aaron Hicks took off for second. Hicks was waved around third and scored the Twins' only run of the game.

Bartlett has a batting average now - .037.

Gardenhire has made no secret of his support for Bartlett. He believes the clubhouse needs players who have had success in the past, and believes Bartlett would be great in that playing mentor role. But it would sure make things easier if Bartlett got a few hits.

``His last three games he's had, out of 10 at bats, eight of them have been quality at bats,'' Gardenhire said before the game. ``A couple walks, hitting the ball on the nose.  Just make sure his legs are underneath him, that he can move around and we'll see how it breaks down at the end. I like the kid an awful lot.''

Pedro Florimon was 0-for-2 but went to his left to gobble up Yadier Molina's grounder in the second, spun and threw to first for the out. It reminded you of his value to the team. It was Florimon's second start since returning to the lineup following surgery to remove his appendix late last month. Gardenhire is going play him as much as possible to help him get his timing at the plate and his legs in game shape.

Oh. Aaron Hicks drew a walk in the third inning - his first of the spring. He'll have to do that more often if he's going to bat leadoff in this offense. The manager is fretting over the lineup right now and needs to see his leadoff hitter actually be a table-setter.

Detroit «00100002X340
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:D.Price(15-12) L:K.Gibson(13-12) S:J.Nathan (35)
HR: MIN- None DET- I.Kinsler (17)


Kansas City - J. Vargas 7:07 PM
San Francisco - R. Vogelsong
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans 10/30/14 7:25 PM
Buffalo 0 2nd Prd 4:56
San Jose 0
Boston 6:00 PM
NY Rangers 6:00 PM
New Jersey 6:00 PM
Dallas 6:00 PM
NY Islanders
Detroit 6:00 PM
Chicago 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Pittsburgh 7:00 PM
Tampa Bay 7:00 PM
Florida 8:00 PM
Washington 9:00 PM
So Florida 17 FINAL
Cincinnati 34
Troy 13 FINAL
South Alabama 27
Boise State 55
(6) Oregon 59 FINAL
California 41
North Texas 21 FINAL
Rice 41
Arkansas 45
Rutgers 24 FINAL
(16) Nebraska 42
Maryland 7 FINAL
Wisconsin 52
Texas 0 FINAL
(11) Kansas State 23
Minnesota 24 FINAL
Illinois 28
Memphis 48 FINAL
SMU 10
North Carolina 28 FINAL
Virginia 27
San Jose St 31 FINAL
Navy 41
Northern Ill 28 FINAL
Eastern Mich 17
(25) UCLA 31 4th Qtr 2:55
Colorado 28
Akron 21 4th Qtr 3:50
Ball State 32
Massachusetts 35 4th Qtr 2:22
Toledo 35
Ohio U 14 4th Qtr 1:45
Western Mich 42
Ga Southern 69 4th Qtr 4:00
Georgia State 31
Kent State 3 4th Qtr 7:11
Miami-Ohio 10
Oregon State 7 3rd Qtr
Stanford 28
Fla Atlantic 16 3rd Qtr
(23) Marshall 14
Louisiana Tech 3 3rd Qtr
Southern Miss 7
(1) Miss State 17 3rd Qtr
Kentucky 10
Georgia Tech 28 3rd Qtr
Pittsburgh 14
(22) West Virginia 14 3rd Qtr
Oklahoma State 10
Michigan 3 3rd Qtr
(8) Michigan State 14
Texas Tech 20 2nd Qtr 0:34
(10) TCU 34
Boston College 17 3rd Qtr 10:00
Wake Forest 0
Central Mich 14 3rd Qtr 14:49
Buffalo 7
Vanderbilt 0 2nd Qtr 1:07
Missouri 10
Old Dominion 23 2nd Qtr 8:19
Western Ky 35
UNLV 7 2nd Qtr 4:45
Utah State 17
Temple 0 1st Qtr 8:31
UCF 10
(15) Arizona 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 6:30 PM
So Carolina 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 9:45 PM
Nevada 10:59 PM
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Purdue 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
(17) Oklahoma 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa State
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(22) West Virginia
Texas 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Texas Tech
Northwestern 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Maryland 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Penn State
Air Force 11/1/14 10:30 AM
ULM 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Texas A&M
Duke 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Rice 11/1/14 11:00 AM
(18) East Carolina 11/1/14 11:00 AM
UCF 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Boston College 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
North Carolina 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Washington 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Central Mich 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Western Mich 11/1/14 1:30 PM
Western Ky 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
NC State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Texas State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico St
Virginia 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech
BYU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
Indiana 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Florida 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(9) Georgia
Georgia State 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Appalachian St
Kentucky 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Kansas 11/1/14 3:00 PM
(12) Baylor
Houston 11/1/14 3:00 PM
So Florida
(20) USC 11/1/14 3:30 PM
Washington St
Arkansas State 11/1/14 4:00 PM
South Alabama 11/1/14 4:00 PM
New Mexico 11/1/14 4:30 PM
UAB 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
(5) Auburn 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss
Arkansas 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(1) Miss State
Old Dominion 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State 11/1/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St
Stanford 11/1/14 6:30 PM
(6) Oregon
Tennessee 11/1/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina
Southern Miss 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
(7) Notre Dame 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Illinois 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(13) Ohio State
(15) Arizona 11/1/14 9:30 PM
(25) UCLA
California 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
San Diego St 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Wyoming 11/1/14 9:45 PM
Fresno State
(19) Utah 11/1/14 10:00 PM
(14) Arizona State
Utah State 11/1/14 10:00 PM
Los Angeles 0 FINAL
Seattle 2
D.C. 0 2nd Half 35:00
Montreal 1
Toronto FC 6:30 PM
New England
Portland 7:30 PM
FC Dallas
Colorado 9:00 PM
Vancouver FC
Montreal 23 FINAL
Ottawa 17
Saskatchewan 27 FINAL
Calgary 40
Hamilton 7 1:17
Toronto 15
Brt Columbia 6:00 PM
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
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