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.

Mauer sore and is not in the lineup

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: April 14, 2011 - 3:52 PM

Got a zinger during Ron Gardenhire's pre-game presser.

``Joe is sore,'' Gardenhire said. ``He's a little sore.Give him another day here.''

Um, can you specify the soreness?

``No, he's sore,'' Gardenhire said. ``You don't need to know any more than that. He's sore. It doesn't matter where or when or how. He's sore and we're not going to catch him.''

Will he sit out just tonight?

``We will reevaluate him tomorrow,'' Gardenhire said. ``But he is sore today and we're not going to mess with him.''

Can he pinch hit?

``He's sore,'' Gardenhire repeated, ``and I'll reevaluate him tomorrow. I only have one other catcher, so if I need him I can catch him. I believe.''

Just before we were allowed into Gardy's office, Mauer was seen in the clubhouse with a smile on his face as he chatted with a teammate.  He didn't show any negative body language - but what do I know about body language? I'm the guy who teed off on Jay Cutler on twitter during the playoffs.

Before we were allowed into Gardy's office,the manager was in a lengthy meeting with GM Bill Smith and head trainer Rick McWane. As I write this, Mauer is on the field warming up with teammates.

Update: In other news, Gardy said he plans to give Denard Span a day off during the series. Your guess is as good as mine as to who will bat leadoff when that happens. Cuddyer is batting second today. Who knows? Maybe he’ll fire Cuddy in the leadoff spot.

Span has left about 20 tickets for friends and family for the game. He’s from that area and graduated from Tampa Catholic.

Twins (4-7)

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

Pitching: Carl Pavano, RHP

Rays (3-8)

1. “Super” Sam Fuld, RF
2. Johnny Damon, DH
3. B.J. Upton, CF
4. Felipe Lopez, 3B
5. Ben Zobrist, 2B
6. Matt Joyce, RF
7. Dan Johnson, 1B
8. John Jaso, C
9. Reid Brignac, SS


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