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.

Morneau is out with the flu

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: April 18, 2011 - 4:42 PM

Guess what? Another player is laid out at the team hotel. Twins first baseman Justin Morneau is in his room trying to shake off the flu. So it doesn't appear that he will be available for a second straight game, and the first of the four-game series here.

Joe Mauer went to see the Johns Hopkins specialist who treated his sacroiliac joint in 2009. He was scheduled to head for the airport right after that and fly to the Twin Cities. He'll be checked out by Twins doctors and rehab plan is expected to be determined then. Mauer can come off of the DL on April 28 but it depends on how strong he can get his legs

Righthander Kevin Slowey has thrown in the bullpen as he comes back from bursitis in his shoulder.

Second baseman Tsuyoshi Nishioka had an X-Ray taken of his broken left fibula and doctors are satisfied with his progress. He's supposed to start some light pool running as he continues his rehab.
The Twins are still sticking with the same 4-6 week timetable for Nishioka's return until further notice. So early- to mid-May is still in play.

Jim Hoey has arrived and will assume a late-inning role.

Gardy acknowledged that it might be hard to limit Joe Nathan to non-pressure situations to pitch in  - mainly because how often are there less-stressful situations. ``I think every time you walk on the mound there's a little pressure to get it done,'' he said.
Then he acknowledged that it might be hard to keep Nathan out of an eighth-inning appearance if he needs an out. He bit my head off Sunday when I suggested that there's no way you can keep Nathan away from the eighth inning, no matter what a manager's intentions are. Grrr.

Watch the pre-game show on FSN. Gardy's comments after harmless questions a signal to me that he's frustrated about the health issues.

Twins (5-10)

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

Pitching: Francisco Liriano, LHP

Orioles (6-8)

1. Brian Roberts, 2B
2. Nick Markakis, RF
3. Derek Lee, 1B
4. Vladimir Guerrero, DH
5. Mark Reynolds, 3B
6. Adam Jones, CF
7. Jake Fox, LF
8. Matt Wieters, C
9. Robert Andino, SS

Pitching: Chris Tillman

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