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.

Minor details: Plouffe leaves game with possible neck injury

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III under Twins Farm System, Twins prospects Updated: April 13, 2011 - 10:32 AM

Class AAA Rochester shortstop Trevor Plouffe, who is off to a good start, was removed from Tuesday's game after hitting his head on the ground while going after a grounder.

He was removed from the game as a precaution, but Jim Rantz, the Twins director of minor leagues, was waiting for results of an exam this morning.

``He (dived) for a ball and his chest stuck in the grass and he hit his face,'' Rantz said. ``He sort of whiplashed. I haven't heard anything else but I'm hoping to hear more today.''

Plouffe was named International League hitter of the week last week when he hit three home runs over two games, In six games, he's batting .348 with three homers and 6 RBI. It was a nice turnaround for Plouffe, who didn't play well in major league spring training camp.

Update: Plouffe saw a doctor this morning and was diagnosed with a minor concussion. He feels better today should be game-ready by Saturday, Rantz said. For that reason, the Twins won’t be placing Plouffe on the 7-day disabled list.

Another injury concern

The Twins are bracing for the worst with righthander Miguel Munoz. He gave up just one run over 5.2 innings for Class A Fort Myers last Friday, but also came down with an elbow injury.

The club is waiting for results of an MRI exam, but they are worried about ligament damage.

Munoz, 22, was 12-7, 4.37 at Class A Beloit last season.

Not again

And, if there went enough injuries in the system, infielder Paul Kelly is injured again.

Kelly, a second round pick in 2005, has had his pro career derailed by at least two surgeries on his left knee and other issues. The Twins think the 24-year old would be pushing for a major league spot right now if he had been able to stay healthy, but he played in just 161 minor league games - just 21 since 2006 - entering this season..

Now it looks like Kelly will need surgery to get rid of blood clots in his right arm and will be out indefinitely

At least one note about performance

One pitcher to watch this year is righthander Bruce Pugh. He made 21 starts between Class A Fort Myers and Class AA New Britain last year but has been moved to the bullpen and is back at Fort Myers.

Pugh as a mid 90's fastball and good breaking stuff. He struck out the side in his first appearance this season. He has two saves in three appearances, striking out five over 3.1 innings..

That's it for now. Joe C. is handling the coverage today and will have any updates on Plouffe. I'm headed to Tampa for the Twins-Rays series that starts tomorrow.


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