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-Blue Jays: Pinto's days could be numbered

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: June 11, 2014 - 10:36 AM

After their win last night, the Twins have a chance to win this series and go 6-for-6 in series against A.L. East teams this season. Who saw that coming?

Phil Hughes is on the mound, looking to bounce back after his second loss of the season. Let's see how he does against a lineup with several mashers in it.

Phil Miller, my trusted colleague, gets bored and starts playing with search engines. Here's what he sent me after the first inning last night:

Because I can't stop looking up obscure stats:

Last night was the 18th time in Twins history that they've taken a 2-0 lead just two batters into a game (which obviously can only happen on the road). And it was the second time ever that it happened in back-to-back games.

The first time: June 14-15, 1997, MIN@HOU (Knoblauch walk, Lawton HR on the 14th; Knoblauch single, Lawton HR on the 15th).

If the Twins win today's rubber match, they will head into an interesting series at Detroit with a little momentum as they play a Tigers team that has lost seven of its last nine games.

I'll check back later. We'll see if the Twins decide to DL Aaron Hicks or give him one more day.


Lots of stuff this morning.

Signals are pointing to Josmil Pinto being sent down to the minors soon. He's not in the lineup today, partially because Gardy wants Kurt Suzuki to catch Phil Hughes but also because Pinto has been struggling with throws and other techniques behind the plate. And with Kendrys Morales around, Pinto's access to at-bats as the DH have been cut off.

So look for Pinto to be demoted soon, with either Chris Herrmann or Eric Fryer coming up.

Aaron Hicks still has a sore shoulder, and could head to the Twin Cities on Thursday's off-day to have it examined. He could rejoin the team on Friday - or head to the DL.

Sam Fuld, who could play a role in this, has been limited to three at-bats as part of a conservative plan following his concussion issues. But assistant GM Rob Antony said that Fuld could join the team as soon as this weekend. If that's the case, then a Hicks-for-Fuld swap is very likely. It just depends if it's for Hicks going on the DL or to Rochester.

Jason Kubel's agent has told the Twins that the veteran outfielder has no interest in going to the minors and prefers to look for a major league job. That means Kubel, who was designated for assignment on Sunday, will part ways with the Twins if he's claimed by another team or if he clears waivers.

Traffic is horrible in this town. There are construction projects everywhere, they are putting in light rail and a train extension to the airport. Travel times have doubled. So, in order to get to airport in a decent time, both the Twins and Blue Jays will follow a police escort to the Pearson International Airport.

I have an evening flight too. Maybe I can get cabbie to latch on to the back of that convoy.

Twins (30-33)

Danny Santana, CF
Brian Dozier, 2B
Joe Mauer, 1B
Josh Willngham, LF
Kendrys Morales, DH
Oswaldo Arcia, RF
Trevor Plouffe, 3B
Kurt Suzuki, C
Eduardo Nunez, SS

Blue Jays (39-27)

Jose Reyes, SS
Melky Cabrera, LF
Jose Bautista, RF
Edwin Encarnacion, DH
Adam Lind, 1B
Bret Lawrie, 3B
Eric Kratz, C
Steve Tolleson, 2B
Anthony Gose, CF

Marcus Stroman, RHP


Team Irvin 32 FINAL
Team Carter 28
Miami 96 FINAL
Chicago 84
Oklahoma City 98 FINAL
Cleveland 108
Dallas 106 FINAL
New Orleans 109
Indiana 106 FINAL
Orlando 99
LA Clippers 120 FINAL
Phoenix 100
Minnesota 100 FINAL
Atlanta 112
Detroit 110 FINAL
Toronto 114
Milwaukee 95 FINAL
San Antonio 101
Boston 111 FINAL
Golden State 114
Washington 117 FINAL
Denver 115
Houston 99 FINAL
LA Lakers 87
Team Toews 17 FINAL
Team Foligno 12
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
South Alabama 55
Northern Iowa 54 FINAL
Illinois State 53
Louisville 80 FINAL
Pittsburgh 68
Albany 69
Niagara 64 FINAL
Iona 87
Notre Dame 81 FINAL
NC State 78
Belmont 63 FINAL
Tennessee St 55
Creighton 50 FINAL
Villanova 71
Northwestern 67 FINAL
Maryland 68
Washington 56 FINAL
Utah 77
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
Vanderbilt 55 FINAL
Alabama 52
Lafayette 60 FINAL
Lehigh 65
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 72 FINAL
(11) Stanford 71 FINAL
USC 60
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