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.

Baker is the fifth starter. Slowey to the bullpen. LINEUPS

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: March 22, 2011 - 11:57 AM

The Twins will defend their AL Central title with a starting five of Carl Pavano, Francisco Liriano, Nick Blackburn, Brian Duensing and Scott Baker.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire announced before today's game against Florida that righthander Kevin Slowey will open the season in the bullpen, which set the rotation.

Slowey has been told of the decision, and told pitching coach Rick Anderson that he's willing to do whatever is needed of him to help the team win.

``I think that's the logical thing,'' Anderson said, ``You got Bake coming off of surgery. You got a couple guys (Slowey and Baker) who will need more time to warm up that the others.

``Slowey is healthy and he's done it a little in the past. I think it's the logical choice.''

Slowey, 13-6 with a 4.45 ERA, was expected to end up in the bullpen. Anderson also pointed to Slowey having a little more experience than some of the other relievers, which he views as a plus.

One good thing about Slowey: He probably won't come in out of the bullpen and walk batters. He's walked 79 batters in 473.1 innings in the majors.

So, as far as we know, the Twins bullpen consists of Joe Nathan, Matt Capps,Jose Mijares and Slowey. I've been told that Dusty Hughes will make the team (barring a late collapse).

Kyle Waldrop has a great chance to make the team if he doesn't fall apart late. That would leave a spot for lefthanders Glenn Perkins and Scott Diamond or righthanders Jeff Manship and Carlos Gutierrez.


1. Denard Span, CF
2. Tsuyoshi Nishioka, 2B
3. Delmon Young, LF
4. Jason Kubel, RF
5. Danny Valencia, 3B
6. Luke Hughes, 1B
7. Jeff Bailey, DH
8. Drew Butera, C
9. Alexi Casilla, SS

Pitching: Carl Pavano, Kyle Waldrop, Scott Diamond, Dusty Hughes.


1. Emilio Bonifacio, CF
2. Omar Infante, 2B
3. Hanley Ramirez, SS
4. Gaby Sanchez, 1B
5. Logan Morrison, LF
6. John Buck, C
7. Greg Dobbs, RF
8. Donnie Murphy, 3B
9. Josh Johnson, RHP



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