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.

Cuddyer at second base as Twins go for series win

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: April 10, 2011 - 11:41 AM

Michael Cuddyer apparently is fired up about playing second base today. it should be interesting. I still remember the game in Detroit when Eric Munson tried to take Cuddyer out at second base and had to leave the game because he hurt his leg.

When asked about being able to shrug off Munson's hard slide, Cuddyer said. ``I was an option quarterback on a high school football team with a bad offensive line.''

Cuddyer probably has about as much range as Luke Hughes, and manager Ron Gardenhire is committed to getting at-bats to players who didn't have full spring trainings because of injuries.

Cuddy at second also allows both Jim Thome and Jason Kubel to get into the lineup. And Joe Mauer is not taking a day game off after a night game. Monday's off-day probably influenced that decision. This lineup is going to hit. Some guys just need to get into a groove.

Alexi Casilla, who had a poor at-bat in the fifth inning and committed an error in the sixth that allowed the only run of the game to score, is back in the lineup. I was curious to see how Gardy would handle that. Does he bench Casilla and risk crushing the guy do you pat him on the back - this time - and give him a chance to redeem himself.

With Trevor Plouffe (three homers) off to a good start at Rochester, it's worth monitoring. But also remember that Plouffe was awful in the field during spring training,

Some players are still chuckling about Justin Morneau's 1,000th career hit on Friday because they all believe it should have been ruled an error. Morneau feels differently.

The Minnesota-Duluth men's hockey team will be honored before today's game for winning the NCAA title last night at the X.


Oakland (3-5)

1. David DeJesus, CF
2. Daric Barton, 1B
3. Josh Willingham, LF
4. Hideki Matsui, DH
5. Ryan Sweeney, RF
6. Mark Ellis, 2B
7. Kevin Kouzmanoff, 3B
8. Landon Powell, C
9. Cliff Pennington, SS

Pitching: Brandon McCarthy, RHP, 0-0, 4.50

Twins (3-5)

1. Denard Span, CF
2. Joe Mauer, C
3. Justin Morneau, 1B
4. Jim Thome, DH
5. Delmon Young, LF
6. Jason Kubel, RF
7. Michael Cuddyer, 2B
8. Danny Valencia, 3B
9. Alexi Casilla, SS

Pitching: Scott Baker, RHP, 0-1,6.00


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