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.

Cuddyer optimisitc. Twins arrive in Bradenton

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: March 2, 2011 - 12:10 PM

Twins outfielder Michael Cuddyer is back in town after having a wart removed from his left foot in Eagan yesterday. He'll be out a couple of weeks.

Cuddyer said it was important for him to have some spring training left to prepare for the regular season, which went into the decision to have the wart removed now. He said the decision was mutual between him and the club.

``This is the most aggressive thing we can do,'' Cuddyer said. ``There's a 60 percent chance that it's all gone. There's a chance they didn't get everything because no one has microscopic vision.''

If the wart starts to return, Cuddyer said they will attack it with the special creme they ordered late last week.

The Twins are taking batting practice right now. I've never  been here with the wind blowing in.

UPDATES

The information flow about Justin Morneau's recovery is going to slow down even more now. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said before the game that all questions about Morneau should be directed at GM Bill Smith. Morneau spoke with Joe C. and other reporters while I headed to Bradenton and will have an update on his blog and in tomorrow's paper.

Tsuyoshi Nishioka will start at shortstop tomorrow when the Twins play the Orioles in Sarasota. Gardy also indicated that Nishioka will play short and Alexi Casilla will play second during the B-game on Friday against the Rays,

Gardy thinks highly of Luke Hughes, who homered in his big league debut last season but was shelved with injuries. Gardy thinks Hughes' bat is good enough to play every day, ``If he can stay healthy he can be a force,'' he said. Hughes has an outside shot, at best, to head north with the team. That's why it's important to watch players like Hughes and Trevor Plouffe in camp, because they will be first in line if something goes wrong with the infield on the major league level.

Gardy also repeated what he said during the postseason last year - that Brian Duensing should consider himself a starter. ``I think he deserves to be in there and be in that rotation,'' Gardy said.

That means Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn and Kevin Slowey could be the main competitors for the final two spots in the rotation.

Twins

1. Ben Revere, CF
2. Trevor Plouffe, SS
3. Jason Kubel, DH
4. Danny Valencia, 3B
5. Luke Hughes, 2B
6. Jeff Bailey, 1B
7. Brian Dinkleman, LF
8. Steve Holm, C
9. Jason Repko, RF

Pitching: Brian Duensing, with Matt Capps, Pat Neshek, Phil Dumatrait and Jeff Manship on the list.

Pirates

1. Jose Tabata, LF
2. Corey Wimberly, SS
3. Andrew McCutchen, CF
4. Pedro Alvarez, 3B
5. Neil Walker, 2B
6. Lyle Overbay, 1B
7. Steve Pearce, DH
8. Ryan Doumit, C
9. Andrew Lambo, RF

Pitching: Ross Ohlendorf, with Tony Watson, Joel Hanrahan and Jose Veras on the list.

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