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.

Notes from Tampa

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: March 13, 2011 - 4:46 PM

The curse has ended.

The Twins smoked the Yankees on Sunday in a game that will likely propel them to greatness against New York for years to come.

O.K. just kidding.

But it was strange to watch Derek Jeter drop a routine pop up and to see Twins pitchers do well against Yankees hitters - and the Yanks started many of their regulars.

It was also hard  to believe that Freddy Garcia had thrown five scoreless innings heading into Sunday. He was AWFUL.

Some observations:

Denard Span and Tsuyoshi Nishioka, according to Span, are building a good relationship. Nishioka asked him after the first inning if he did the right thing by bunting Span over instead of letting Span steal. Span liked that, and said there will be time when the opposing pitcher will be quick to home plate and bunting will be a better way to get him to second.

Scott Baker looked good. He kept the ball low  and really worked at a nice, quick pace. Easily his best outing of spring.

It was also Nishioka's best game this spring. He played well in the field, pulled a pitch for a double and took third when Garcia didn't pay attention to him.

 Luke Hughes was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a RBI. If he keeps it up he'll give manager Ron Gardenhire something to think about when it's  time to finalize the Opening Day roster.

Deolis Guerra entered the game in the seventh and promptly gave up singles to A-Rod and Robinson Cano. But he settled down to get Jorge Posada, Curtis Granderson and Andruw Jones out.

An AL East scout had Guerra at 88-89 mph and touching 91. Far from the 95 he reportedly threw as an 18-year old. The scout said Guerra did OK, showing a nice 12-6 curve and even flashed a change up.

The same scout said David Bromberg struggled with his release point and just wasn't sharp. Bromberg pitched the eighth and gave up a run on a hit and three walks. Pitching coach Rick Anderson had to go to the mound to settle him down.

The scout said he was sitting with two other scouts who had written very favorable reports on Bromberg in the past, so they were disappointed. Bromberg has quite a knuckle curve and a decent fastball but he's getting a taste of what it's like to face the big boys.




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