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 meets teammates. Liriano throws. Young reports.

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: February 22, 2011 - 9:30 AM

It was a mini media circus this morning.

Tsuyoshi Nishioka entered the clubhouse with a throng of Japanese media in tow. After a few moments, Nishioka walked around the entire clubhouse, shaking hands with new teammates. It was like the President was visiting.

He met with Japanese reporters first. Then us.

``I feel that, from participating in this meeting, there is a family atmosphere here,'' Nishioka said through interpreter Ryo Shinkawa. ``It’s an honor to be a part of this from tomorrow, and I’m looking forward to participating in the practices from tomorrow.”

Nishioka has worked out on his own - decked out in addias gear, not Twins gear - in recent days. One reason, he said, was that he was adjusting to the differences in working out between the US and Japan. Japanese leagues began spring training on Feb. 1.

``That led to the decision of practicing alone, trying to adjust to that,'' he said.

Why no Twins gear? I spoke with a veteran Japanese reporter who said that, during their session with Nishioka, that he views tomorrow as a new beginning, the next chapter of his career, and he wanted to wait until the first full squad workout to put on Twins gear for the first time. Sounds like he's built it up to be a big moment.

Francisco Liriano, his shoulder much better after strengthening exercises, threw in the bullpen this morning, so we'll get an update on that after the workout.

Delmon Young reported to camp and told me that his car has not been delivered to Fort Myers, that he drove in from Tampa. A veteran Twins player who shall remain nameless provided me with bad information. My bad, Delmon.

Young does appear to be in good shape, and more muscular than last year.


more twins blogs


Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters