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.

Gardenhire misses game to attend funeral

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: April 11, 2014 - 5:10 PM


Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has left team to travel to the Akron, Ohio area to attend the funeral of Mike Hirschbeck, the son of MLB umpire John Hirschbeck.

Terry Steinbach will manage the team Friday and will do so again on Saturday in Gardenhire's absence.

Mike Hirschbeck's association with the Twins goes back more than 20 years. Diagnosed with a rare brain disease - adrenoleukodystrophy, or ALD - he underwent a bone-marrow transplant in at the University of Minnesota Hospitals in 1992. Then manager Tom Kelly visited him in the hospital at the time. Mike also got to know Gardenhire and the rest of the coaching staff.

His father is one of more well-liked umpires in the league. Based in Sarasota during spring training, Mike Hirschbeck would come over to Ed Smith Stadium and be the Twins' batboy when they came to town to play the Reds, before they moved to Arizona, and later the Orioles. Mike last was the Twins' batboy in 2013.

The Twins are sending flowers to the funeral and the coaching staff is making a donation to the Hirschbeck's foundation.

Jason Bartlett, recovering from a left ankle sprain, ran the bases before the game and said everything went, "Great!" The Twins now must determine when to send him out on a minor league rehab assignment. Once he goes, Bartlett is expected to get plently of at bats.

Josh Willingham is still day-to-day with a bruised left wrist, but Steinbach said if he still can't play in the next few days the club will have to consider a DL stint for him.

The Twins will try to snap a three-game losing streak tonight, as well as a nine-game skid at home, going back to last season.

The two leading hitters in the league are in the park tonight, Kansas City's Sal Perez (.458) and the Twins' Jason Kubel (.448).

Brian Dozier enters the game tied for the AL lead with nine runs.

Mike Pelfrey is one of three AL pitchers to have given up a league-high four home runs.

Royals (4-4)

Norichika Aoki, RF
Omar Infante, 2B
Eric Hosmer, 1B
Billy Butler, DH
Alex Gordon, LF
Salvador Perez, C
Mike Moustakas, 3B
Lorenzo Cain, CF
Alcides Escobar, SS

Pitching: Brue Chen, LHP

Twins (3-6)

Brian Dozier, 2B
Joe Mauer, 1B
Trevor Plouffe, 3B
Chris Colabello, RF
Jason Kubel, LF
Josmil Pinto, LF
Kurt Suzuki, C
Aaron Hicks, CF
Pedro Florimon, SS

Kyle Gibson, RHP

ADVERTISEMENT

Atlanta - J. Teheran 12:05 PM
Philadelphia - C. Hamels
Washington 12:05 PM
Miami
Boston 12:05 PM
Minnesota
Detroit 12:05 PM
Houston
Toronto - D. Hutchison 12:05 PM
Boston
Tampa Bay - J. Norberto 12:05 PM
NY Yankees - C. Whitley
St. Louis 12:10 PM
NY Mets
Los Angeles 2:05 PM
Kansas City
LA Angels 2:05 PM
Oakland
San Diego 3:05 PM
Chicago WSox
Chicago WSox 3:05 PM
Seattle
Cleveland 3:05 PM
San Francisco
Milwaukee 3:05 PM
Chicago Cubs
Arizona 3:05 PM
Cincinnati
Texas 3:10 PM
Colorado
Pittsburgh 6:05 PM
Baltimore
Detroit 6:00 PM
Charlotte
Philadelphia 6:00 PM
Washington
San Antonio 6:00 PM
Orlando
Indiana 6:30 PM
Boston
Brooklyn 6:30 PM
New York
Chicago 7:00 PM
Milwaukee
Dallas 7:00 PM
Oklahoma City
Sacramento 7:00 PM
Houston
Toronto 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Denver 8:00 PM
Utah
LA Clippers 9:00 PM
Portland
New Orleans 9:30 PM
LA Lakers
Toronto 6:30 PM
Buffalo
Philadelphia 7:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Edmonton 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Colorado 9:30 PM
San Jose
Loyola-Chicago 7:00 PM
ULM
UCLA 6:00 PM
Michigan
Temple 6:00 PM
West Virginia
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: What are you following most closely right now?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT