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 tweaking the roster earlier for a change

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: April 21, 2014 - 6:19 AM

Good morning! Headed to the airport to catch a flight to Tampa for the Twins-Rays series but wanted to check in with some thoughts on what's going on with recent Twins roster moves.

I'll check back in tomorrow from The Trop, where the Twins and Rays will meet for three games,


Sam Fuld is in the fold and will join the Twins before Tuesday's game against the Rays.

One move down.

Eduardo Nunez has a minor oblique strain but should be called up soon - although the injury can be nagging, and the Twins have underestimated of their. ``day-to-day" announcements in the past.

That's another move to come.

And there could be move adjustments to the roster as Twins manager Ron Gardenhire is looking for right combination of players. Assistant GM Rob Antony and other officials are all over the transaction wires, looking to see if a player discarded  by another team fits what they are looking for.

``We aren't finished,'' Gardenhire said. ``We're going to get better. We're going to continue to get better. We're going to keep changing around until we get what we want and get a feel for what we want off the bench. How we can move people around. And we are still working on it. People are falling through the cracks and were taking the guys we want and letting the others go.
``It's about getting better and winning games.''

Then Gardy dropped this one:

``This group right here can hit. If we keep getting better and get some bench strength where we can move some people around instead of the same thing every day, we can get better.''

My, how things have changed. The manager was seriously worried about the offense during spring training. But the season began, and the at-bats have improved. The Twins walked eight more times on Sunday and have 95 on the season. And they are scoring some runs while Josh Willingham and Oswaldo Arcia mend sore wrists. There are legitimate signs (mainly the walks and quality at-bats) that the offense will be functional this season. But Gardenhire is like most managers. He likes options, and it looks like he's going to tinker with some things now and worry about Willingham and Arcia coming off the DL later.

The Twins hoped to avoid designating Darin Mastroianni for assignment. They hoped they could get Jason Bartlett's retirement paperwork done in time to get his 40-man roster spot back, but they ran out of time. They were awarded Fuld at 12:05 p.m. on Sunday and had to make a move then.

But it means that they will get that 40-man spot in the next few days. So they could use it to claim another player or call someone up from the minors who's not on the roster.

The Twins are making moves earlier in the season than they usually do, a sign of players being held more accountable. They feel that Fuld is an upgrade over Mastroianni and Nunez will be an offensive upgrade over Pedro Florimon. The shortstop position is a key defensive position, but you can't have people batting .214 - Florimon's career batting average -  in the daily lineup.

They are not sitting back and waiting like they have in recent seasons.

``We had three years to make adjustments,'' Gardenhire said. ``Now it's time. Everyone is tired of watching that other stuff. I'm tired of it. You're tired of it. The fans are tired of it. We see something we like, go get it.''

ADVERTISEMENT

Team Irvin 7:15 PM
Team Carter
Miami 96 FINAL
Chicago 84
Oklahoma City 98 FINAL
Cleveland 108
Dallas 84 3rd Qtr 1:53
New Orleans 85
Indiana 75 4th Qtr
Orlando 82
LA Clippers 87 3rd Qtr 0:21
Phoenix 77
Minnesota 73 3rd Qtr 0:46
Atlanta 83
Detroit 36 2nd Qtr 5:55
Toronto 43
Milwaukee 42 2nd Qtr 5:51
San Antonio 33
Boston 7:00 PM
Golden State
Washington 7:00 PM
Denver
Houston 8:30 PM
LA Lakers
Team Toews 16 3rd Prd 5:30
Team Foligno 11
South Florida 53 FINAL
Connecticut 66
Boston College 64 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Virginia 50 FINAL
Virginia Tech 47
Indiana 70 FINAL
Ohio State 82
Stony Brook 61 FINAL
Binghamton 54
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
UCF 46
Maine 70 FINAL
Hartford 61
Monmouth 64 FINAL
Manhattan 71
Fairfield 67 FINAL
Marist 73
Rowan 48 FINAL
Princeton 96
St Bonaventure 48 FINAL
Rhode Island 53
Duke 77 FINAL
St Johns 68
Saint Peters 69 FINAL
Siena 55
Drake 40 FINAL
Wichita State 74
Vermont 61 FINAL
UMass Lowell 50
Seton Hall 57 FINAL
Butler 77
NJIT 72 FINAL
South Alabama 55
Northern Iowa 54 FINAL
Illinois State 53
Louisville 80 FINAL
Pittsburgh 68
UMBC 55 FINAL
Albany 69
Niagara 64 FINAL
Iona 87
Notre Dame 53 2nd Half 12:46
NC State 53
Belmont 28 2nd Half 20:00
Tennessee St 30
Creighton 14 2nd Half
Villanova 29
Northwestern 17 1st Half 13:30
Maryland 11
Washington 7:30 PM
Utah
Senior-North 34 FINAL
Senior-South 13
Seton Hall 99 FINAL
Georgetown 85
St Johns 69 FINAL
Villanova 81
Arkansas 58 FINAL
Florida 72
Maine 56 FINAL
UMBC 42
Vanderbilt 55 FINAL
Alabama 52
Lafayette 60 FINAL
Lehigh 65
UCF 61 FINAL
SMU 57
Utah 51 FINAL
Washington 63
James Madison 73 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 53
Delaware 56 FINAL
Drexel 61
Hofstra 56 FINAL
William & Mary 57
Hartford 58 FINAL
Albany 82
Binghamton 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 67
Towson 63 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 71
Wake Forest 80 FINAL
(17) Florida State 110
Georgia Tech 68 FINAL
Virginia 62
(22) Georgia 51 FINAL
(5) Tennessee 59
Drake 79 FINAL
Evansville 62
Iona 80 FINAL
Canisius 62
Fairfield 33 FINAL
Monmouth 59
Northwestern 75 FINAL
Penn State 76
Wisconsin 71 FINAL
Michigan State 77
Ohio State 79 FINAL
Purdue 71
Northern Iowa 57 FINAL
Indiana State 55
Butler 58 FINAL
Xavier 54
Creighton 93 FINAL
Marquette 75
Providence 42 FINAL
DePaul 90
Northeastern 77 FINAL
Elon 80
(2) Connecticut 96 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Oregon 78 FINAL
Arizona 81
Bradley 46 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 45
NC State 49 FINAL
(23) Syracuse 66
(7) Maryland 84 FINAL
Indiana 74
Illinois State 35 FINAL
Missouri State 58
Colorado 68 FINAL
Washington St 73
Tulane 45 FINAL
South Florida 64
(14) Kentucky 83 FINAL
Missouri 69
(9) Oregon State 68 FINAL
(13) Arizona State 57
Vermont 63 FINAL
UMass Lowell 72
Iowa State 58 FINAL
(8) Texas 57
Southern Ill 61 FINAL
Wichita State 80
(15) Duke 74 FINAL
(12) North Carolina 67
Miami-Florida 55 FINAL
(4) Louisville 68
(21) Minnesota 61 FINAL
(25) Rutgers 66
California 64 2nd Half 2:17
UCLA 51
(11) Stanford 7:00 PM
USC
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: How optimistic are you about the 2015 Twins?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT