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.

Clearing up the Twins' options situation

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: March 15, 2011 - 8:37 AM

O.K. I apologize. I had Matt Tolbert out of options in yesterday's blog post and it is not true. Tolbert has one more option left.

In 2008, Tolbert was sent to the minors on a rehab assignment and returned. He was never demoted,  so an option wasn't used. My bad. Darn these rules.

So here are the Twins players who are out of options: Scott Baker, Alexi Casilla, Jose Mijares, Joe Nathan, Glen Perkins, Delmon Young. Baker and Nathan, of course, are on multiyear contracts.

And that means that the Twins have options left on people like Jim Thome, Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau - which, of course, means nothing.

Sorry about the mixup. Now I feel better....

What this is means is that Tolbert could begin the season in the minors if Twins manager Ron Gardenhire wants to make room for someone like Luke Hughes, who's driving the heck out of the ball in camp. I guess Jason Repko would become the No. 1 pinch runner in the late innings if Thome gets on base, with Hughes the No. 2 choice.

Hughes, of course, has to keep hitting. The spring training landscape is littered with stories of players who live large the first couple weeks of camp. Then the last week of camp comes, they realize that they actually have a chance to make the team and crumble.

I'll give Gardy credit if Hughes ends up having an impact this season. He told me a couple times during unofficial conversations last year that he thought Hughes could hit in the majors. ``He can hit a fastball,'' Gardy kept saying.



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