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-Red Sox: Twins look to get back to .500

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: May 14, 2014 - 5:53 PM

  
Twins games are longer these days, with one reason being the longer plate appearances.

The Twins enter tonight first in baseball in grinding through at-bats, watching 4.17 pitches per plate appearance. They have five players among the top 25 in baseball in that category. Jason Kubel is third (4.53), Brian Dozier is seventh (4.31), Joe Mauer is 12th (4.24).

Boston is right behind the Twins at 4.08. Know what that means - three-hour games. Saw many people leave in the seventh inning last night. I was wondering if they were cold, tired of the long game or wanted to catch the rest of the Wild game.

Oswaldo Arcia was reinstated from his rehabiliation assignment at Class AAA Rochester but offficially optioned to the Red Wings, Arcia is batting .308 at Rochester and hit a homer on Tuesday. But Twins manager Ron Gardenhire values the opinion of Red Wings manager Gene Glynn, and Glynn has told Gardenhire that Arcia is not quite ready.

So Arcia will reamin at Rochester a lille while longer. Arcia was about to be called up last May 7 when the Twins ran low on players but he reported to Rochester that night with soreness in his right wrist - the same wrist that landed him on the disabled list in the first place. So the Twins backed off then.

Josh Willingham will join Arcia soon. Willingham took batting practice with the team before Wedensday's game and is set to join the Red Wings for a rehabiliation assignment. He'll be there as long as he needs to get ready.

One thing to keep in mind about Willingham on rehab assigment and Arcia not being called up: The Twins are headed on an interleague road trip to San Diego and San Francisco next week, and Gardenhire wants to have a four-man bench. So look for them to send a pitcher down before the trip begins. Willingham (long shot) or Arcia (more likely shot) could get the call then.

Gardenhire had a meeting with Aaron Hicks on Tuesday. The basic message: Get it in gear. Hicks entered Wednesday batting .160, and the Twins are sick of seeing that. Hicks has been told by different members of the coaching staff in recent weeks to get going. Now the manager has had to call him into the office. The next step will to have Glynn tell him to get it in gear as he unpacks his bags in Rochester.

The Twins don't have a lot of options in center field, though. Sam Fuld is on the disabled list because of a concussion, and Gardenhrie said Fuld didn't have a good day today. Darin Mastroianni and Alex Presley have been claimed off waivers. Even if they want to send Hicks down they might not be able to - the same thing that happened last season.

Red Sox (19-19)

Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Shane Victorino, RF
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
Grady Sizemore, LF
A.J., C
Xander Bogaerts, SS
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Jackie Bradley, Jr., CF

Felix Doubront, LHP

Twins (18-19)

Brian Dozier, 2B
Joe Mauer, 1B
Trevor Plouffe, 3B
Chris Parmelee, RF
Kurt Suzuki, DH
Josmil Pinto, C
Eduardo Nunez, LF
Eduardo Escobar, SS
Aaron Hicks, CF

Kevin Correia, RHP

8:10 PM ET123456789RHE
MinnesotaP. Hughes (14-8)000
Kansas CityL. Hendriks (1-0)000
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St. Louis - LP: A. Wainwright 1 FINAL
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