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.

Nishioka update, other stuff

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: December 14, 2010 - 4:04 PM


Indications are that the Twins and the agent for Japanese infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka are still hammering out details on a contract  - but the switch-hitting, slick fielding star is still expected to arrive in the Twin Cities by the end of the week.

He'll probably take his physical then and meet with some of the staff. But there's a chance he might leave town without a deal getting done. Not sure if there will be a press conference. My guess is that the Twins wouldn't do that until a contract is signed.

I have not received any indications that the deal is in danger of falling apart. The deadline to sign him is Dec. 26, but I'm sure no one wants to run this thing up to Christmas.


I've been writing that the Twins wouldn't have traded J.J. Hardy unless they knew they had a deal done with Nishioka. The real truth, I've been told, is that the Twins intended to trade Hardy all along and would have done so even if Nishioka wasn't on their radar screen.

I feel I needed to clear that one up.


I did a double-take when I saw the stats but, yes, that is new Twin Brett Jacobsen playing in the Australian Winter League. The league operated from 1989-99 but is back this year. Some teams have sent players there. Infielder Luke Hughes and Liam Hendriks, a couple of the Twins' cluster of Australian prospects, are playing in the league.

If you click here, you can view the stats of all Twins players in various winter leagues. It includes stats for the Arizona Fall League, which ended last month.

Justin Morneau has been working out at Target Field and continues to do well as he distances himself from the concussion he suffered in July.

Still monitoring the Twins' attempts to re-sign Carl Pavano and Jim Thome. I still think they have a good shot at both.


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