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.

Willie Mitchell: Morneau feeling better

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: October 25, 2010 - 10:55 PM

Los Angeles Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell, one of Justin Morneau's good friends - and who has suffered a concussion like Morneau - indicated to the Mayor of Russoville that the Twins' first baseman is on the right track in his battle to distance himself from the injury 

``Justin’s starting to feel better because he doesn’t have all the pressure and stresses.” Mitchell said.

That came after a long speech about how concussions can linger and how the challenge is finding the right atmosphere to recover in.

``He’s a really, really passionate guy and he loves the game of baseball, and his experience was almost identical to mine,” Mitchell said. “He has his injury, starts to feel a little bit better, wants to start doing stuff and wants to help out the team because he cares. It was the best time of year, the stretch run, the playoffs, he tries and he couldn’t do it.''

Morneau tried to come back late in the season but had to shut it down when the symptoms returned.

``And it’s not just being able to do it, but it’s that stress of not being able to do it because you care so much that doesn’t allow you to get better,'' Mitchell said ``Being done was a big stress reliever, and getting into his offseason home and not having everybody everyday asking, ‘How’s your head? How’s your head? How’s your head?’ It puts you back into a place of thinking about your head. I’ve said to Justin, to Butch, to [Brent Burns], ‘You’ve got to get yourself to a place where you’re stress-free.’ For me, it was walking a riverbank in the middle of nowhere or it could be sitting on a beach or sitting in your log cabin up north. I told Justin, ‘You’ve got to get yourself in a place where you’re chilled, relaxed, and it’ll get you healthy a lot quicker.’ ''

Twins general manager Bill Smith, reached on Monday, said that the doctors who are handling Morneau contine to tell them that Morneau should be 100 percent by spring training..Indications are that Morneau is spending the offseason in Arizona like he usually does.

Tip of the cap to Mike for this information.







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