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.

Tuesday morning briefing

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III under Vikings draft Updated: December 7, 2010 - 9:33 AM

9:30 update FOX Sports is reporting that the Twins were one of seven teams to have checked on Rich Harden, which makes sense since they've had interest in him in the past. Guessing they would want him as a reliever.

Today I'll be monitoring the situation with Tsuyoshi Nishioka, as the Twins push to get him signed this week at the winter meetings. The sides exchanged multiple proposals on Monday.

The Twins have until Dec. 26 to sign him, but I get the sense that they would like to get this done and move on to other things.

Meanwhile, I agree with this thinking as a way to help Nishioka settle in while boosting the bullpen.

Keep hearing about plenty of  interest in Jesse Crain and Matt Guerrier from other teams. Toronto might be a destination for Crain.

This story is concerning.

The Twins are still looking at several six-year minor league free agents but won't sign anyone until after the Rule V draft this week. Why? One reason is that if a team signs a player to a minor league deal he could be eligible to be taken in the draft. That actually happened a few years ago when the Orioles announced the signing of Chris Gomez before the winter meetings and lost him him the draft.

That Joaquin Benoit deal with Detroit (three years, $16.5 million) has really shaken up the reliever market. Don't think the Twins are ready to shell out $5 million a year for relief help. They are looking at free agent relievers but also are hoping that Glen Perkins and Pat Neshek can step up after having rough seasons.

It's very possible they can. And in Neshek's case, he just might have needed a break after working so hard to come back following Tommy John surgery. We've seen that with Francisco Liriano.

Today is the annual Baseball Writers of America meeting, which starts at 9 am eastern. So I gotta run but I'll check in later.


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