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.

UPDATES

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

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