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.

Minor details:Tommy John surgery concerns for position players

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III under Twins Farm System, Twins prospects Updated: April 20, 2011 - 11:52 AM

Tommy John surgery, which repairs the ulnar collateral ligament, usually is done on those who have torn the ligament through pitching. There  have been cases in which position players have needed the surgery.

And two Twins prospects could be next.

Both outfielder Angel Morales, one of the organization's top prospects,and shortstop Estarlin De Los Santos reported to camp with elbow ligament problems. The Twins are hoping that rehabilitation will help both players to play later this season.

But if weeks go by without acceptable improvement, both will have elbow ligament reconstruction surgery and miss the entire season.

``We're crossing our fingers,'' said Twins director of minor leagues Jim Rantz.

Morales, 21, hit .280 between Class A Beloit and Fort Myers last season with 5 homers,55 RBI and 29 stolen bases. He has a lot of talent and the Twins have been waiting for him to put it all together.

De Los Santos, 24, was once headed toward top ten status but has struggled once he got to Class AA New Britain.

A third, righthander Miguel Munoz,will also try to rehab his elbow and avoid surgery.

Tosoni on a roll

Outfielder Rene Tosoni went 0 for 3 Tuesday in the second game of a double header to end a ten-game hitting streak. He batted .361 during the run with 5 doubles and 3 home runs. The Twins want Tosoni, batting .302 with 3 homers and 15 RBI in 12 games, to play all over the outfield. That could be a little tough with Ben Revere in center field.

Tosoni, 24, spent the offseason working out with fellow Canadian Justin Morneau in the Phoenix area during the offseason.

System check

Brian Dinkleman was playing left field for Rochester but has moved to second base - his original position when drafted - since Luke Hughes was called up to the majors.

Righthander Anthony Swarzak gave up one run over seven innings on four hits and a walk on Tuesday to help Rochester beat Buffalo in the first game of a doubleheader. He needed 96 pitches.

Righthander Jeff Manship, recently demoted to Rochester,will be stretched out to start.

Righthander Alex Wimmers has made some improvement in his control during side work at Class A Fort Myers. Wimmers, the Twins first-round pick last year and former college pitcher of the year at Ohio State, threw 24 of 28 pitches for balls in his season debut just over a week ago and has been working on the side ever since. 

The plan, for now, is for Wimmers to continue to throw on the side then move on to batting practice, the simulated games and then extended spring training games. But this could take awhile, as the Twins help Wimmers mechanically and mentally.

Righthander Anthony Slama has recovered from elbow issues that ruined his spring training and is back pitching at Class AAA Rochester. It was an odd injury, as Slama showed me how he's somewhat double-jointed (don't know how else to describe it) in his elbows so they bend backwards a little. Inflammation developed on the tip of a bone near the elbow. But now he's fine.

Etc.

Mets outfielder Jason Bay,  while rehabbing a strained rib cage at Class A Port St. Lucie, went 4-for-4 against Fort Myers on Tuesday with two, two-run homers.

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