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.

Nathan pitches scoreless inning

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: March 1, 2011 - 10:05 AM

Update: Joe Nathan pitched a scoreless fourth inning in his return to the pitching mound Tuesday afternoon. Facing the sixth through ninth batters in the Boston order, Nathan got two fly outs and a ground out. He also walked Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia on a 3-and-2 pitch.

More details later.

There are plenty of interesting pitchers scheduled to appear in today's game - but first here's something about a pitcher whose playing days have been over for awhile.

Former Twin Jim Kaat is joining the Twins spring training staff.

Kaat, 72, will be in uniform Sunday through Friday as a special instructor (ambassador). He's the Twins' all-time leader in wins (189), games started (422) and innings pitched (2959.1). He won 16 straight Gold Gloves and is a member of the 50 Greatest Twins.

He also was one of the best in the business as color analyst for Yankees broadcast and selected national broadcasts.

What I remember about Kaat is how cool he looked while strutting to and from the mound.

In other news:

I did not see Justin Morneau or Michael Cuddyer in the clubhouse this morning. In Morneau's case, that could mean he's being examined one more time before returning to action, but I don't want to go there just yet. I reported a couple days ago that he was supposed to head to Pittsburgh soon to for an exam. I later heard that the doctor could travel here to check Morneau out.

Either way, the Twins are doing their best to keep this quiet now. We'll see what happens.

As for Cuddyer, heard that the Twins will wait a few days to see if the cream for the wart on his left foot will work. If not, the Twins will want to have it removed.

The Kaat news got me thinking about Harmon Killebrew. Was told there's s still hope Killebrew makes it down for spring training.

Anyway, today is a big day for Twins righthander Joe Nathan. He takes the mound for the first time since injuring his elbow last spring training against the Red Sox and undergoing season-ending Tommy John surgery. Nathan has looked strong in camp, giving the Twins hope that he and Matt Capps form a very capable 1-2 punch in the late innings.

Scott Baker, who was slowed by elbow soreness a few weeks ago, makes his first appearance of spring.

Kyle Gibson, the Twins' top pitching prospect, is scheduled to pitch as well.

Big day for Twins pitchers - not just Nathan - today..


Red Sox

1. Marco Scutaro, SS
2. Jed Lowrie, 2B
3. Mike Cameron, DH
4. Kevin Youkilis, 3B
5. Ryan Kalish, CF
6. Darnell McDonald, LF
7. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
8. Josh Reddick, RF
9. Drew Sutton, 1B

Pitching: Jon Lester with Jonathan Papelbon scheduled to pitch as well.

Twins

1. Denard Span, CF
2. Nishi, 2B
3. Danny Valencia, 3B
4. Jim Thome, DH
5. Joe Benson, RF
6. Chris Parmelee, 1B
7. Rene Tosoni, LF
8. Drew Butera, C
9. Alexi Casilla,  SS

Pitching: Scott Baker, with Joe Nathan and Kyle Gibson on the list.

 

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