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.

Twins needed roster space and didn't mind losing Neshek

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: March 20, 2011 - 4:39 PM

This was posted by reliever - and Brooklyn Park native - Pat Neshek:

``I just got news that I am now a member of the San Diego Padres, packing up & heading west.''

Twins GM Bmith said the club asked outright waivers on Neshek on Friday and the Padres claimed him on Sunday. If Neshek would have cleared waivers the Twins could have taken him him off the 40-man roster and sent him to the minors. Since San Diego claimed him, they are on the hook for hi $625,000 salary. Neshek is eligible for arbitration after the season.

Neshek had fallen behind in the race for a bullpen spot and needed a new opportunity. He missed the 2009 season because of Tommy John elbow surgery and has been battling to regain his old form ever since. He made the 2010 roster out of spring training but landed on the DL with a sore middle finger. He then went 5-1, 3.89 in 30 games at Class AAA Rochester before being called  up to the majors on Sept. 6 but showed signs of arm fatigue.

He posed a 4.26 ERA in six outings this spring.

As for the Twins, they have a 40-man roster space available to add someone like Kyle Waldrop or Carlos Gutierrez. Both young pitchers have looked good in camp. but i would bet that the Twins would give Waldrop a shot now and left Gutierrez work on his game at Class AAA Rochester.

Could the Twins have made a trade for Neshek? The fact they didn't suggests there wasn't a market for him. I did hear that Mike Venafro, who was in camp with the Twins a few years ago and now scouts for the Padres, has been around lately.

To bad for Pat. He was a different guy, but a cool guy. Wish him the best.

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