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.

Three Twins postgame thoughts from LEN3: Hicks, replay, Arcia

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: May 18, 2014 - 6:49 PM

Here are some things followng the Twins' 6-2 loss to Seattle:

HICKS MAKING SOME PROGRESS: Aaron Hicks is batting .400 (6 for 15) over his last five games. So it looks like he's responded to the team's challenge to step up his game, right? Not totally, as he hurt them in the field and on the basepaths on Sunday. When Kyle Seager's bloop single fell in during the fourth, the wind pushed it toward left field. I was told after the game that should have been a signal to Hicks how to play balls hit his way. but when Robinson Cano sent his deep drive out there in the fifth, Hicks failed to do that. He also got turned around - turning clockwise instead of counter-clockwise. The ball was blown in the opposite way Hicks turned and landed about 15 feet away from him, Then Hicks allowed himself to be tagged out between first and second too easily on a grounder to Cano in the seventh with two on. That started an inning-ending double play.

REPLAY VICTORY: Twins manager Ron Gardenhire successfully challenged the ruling that Danny Santana was out at first in the second inning. Replays showed that Santana beat Felix Hernandez, who was covering on the play, by a hair. The Twins wound up scoring both their runs in that inning. The Twins are 7-4 on relay challenges this season.

HOMERS: I keep getting messages asking why Oswaldo Arcia wasn't called up today instead of Chris Herrmann. Arcia was officially moved off of his rehabilitation stint and optioned to Class AAA Rochester on Wednesday. From that point, he has to stay in the minors 10 days before being called up - unless there's an injury. All indications are that he will be called up in time for the next Twins' homestand. Arcia by the way, homered for Rochester today. And so did Kennys Vargas at Class AA New Britain. Vargas has been a nice surprise there, hitting .309 with 8 homers and 28 RBI. He needs works at first base, but he's come a long way.

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