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.

Better late than never, here are some Twins notes

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III under Off the field Updated: February 25, 2011 - 7:23 PM

Well, after I hyped the Gibson v. Nishioka battle, it never came about.

Nishioka's group left right before Gibson took the mound for his bullpen session. Instead, Gibson faced the M & M boys.

Mauer hit a couple pitches well and Morneau clobbered a long one off of Gibson, but the way everyone went to Gibson and congratulated him after his outing suggested that they like what they see from the righthander out of the University Missouri.

Morneau, by the way, hit several long ones during the coach-pitch phase of batting practice. He looks fine to me. You wonder when he'll jump up one day and say, `it's time to play in a game.'' It's gotta be his call more than anything.

Again, I must remind myself that concussions have their own timetable.

CUDDYER OUT

Michael Cuddyer won't play in any spring training games anytime soon because the wart that was supposed to be a non-issue has become an issue.

``Cuddy has a little foot problem so he backed away,'' Gardy said. ``We kept him off the field and we are going to see how he does tomorrow. That growth that he had taken off his foot has really affected him and got really sore so backed off today and we are going to know more tomorrow. If it continues to stay sore we are going to have the whole thing taken out.

 

``That will cost a little time if that has to happen. Michael seemed to think that he would be OK tomorrow. We'll see.

 

 

MORE NISHI 

Nishioka surprised me today when I walked by his stall and he looked at me and said, ``Good Morning.'' with a smile.

 

By the way, `Good morning,' in Japanese is pronounced something like "Ohio". So I've been greeting Japanese media each morning with "Ohio"

Alexi Casilla walked past us and said the Japanese word for, "shut up" which brought laughter from a Japanese reporter. How'd he learn that. And I'm starting to worry what words Twins players are trying to teach Nishioka....

ROTATION

Here's how the Twins’ starting rotation sets up for the first week of spring training games.

 Sunday: Carl Pavano. Monday: Nick Blackburn followed by Kevin Slowey. Tuesday: Scott Baker, followed by Joe Nathan. Wednesday: Brian Duensing. Thursday: Pavano. Friday: Francisco Liriano, tentatively.

 The schedule could change, based on health. Righthander Scott Baker had another good bullpen session on Friday and could come out of the bullpen in one of the games.

 Don't read too much into who is starting games and who is not because schedules can always be adjusted. Also keep in mind that your favorite Twins starter could end up getting a lot of innings in minor league spring training games, once they begin, while the coaching staff evaluates new pitchers.

 STELLY UPDATE

Not good news for Twins bullpen coach Rick Stelmaszek. There's a growing chance he might miss all of spring training while recovering from surgery to reattach the retina in his left eye.

The Twins are concerned that he could have a setback if he comes back, gets in the sun and gets active again. Everything is on hold with him right now.

 

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