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.

Twins-Rays: Injuries, illness, stiffness

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: April 27, 2011 - 7:59 PM

UPDATE: Delmon Young couldn't get loose during batting practice and told the Twins he can't start tonight.

6:05 UPDATE: There are rumblings in the clubhouse that Young could land on the DL. They can backdate it to Apr. 18, when he last played. That would give him another week to recover. Rene Tosoni, batting .286, is playing the best of the outfielders at Rochester who are on the 40-man roster. Ben Revere had two hits today but is batting just .214.

Manager Ron Gardenhire told us that Jim Thome has a slight oblique strain that might force him to miss a couple days, and that Carl Pavano has the flu. His next start has been pushed back to pushed back to Sunday.

Jason Rapko has a slightly sore quad but can play if needed.

The Twins hope Eric Hacker can start the second game tomorrow, but they have to get through tonight first. The way things have been going with this club, what are the chances they get through tonight in one piece? UPDATE: I have confirmed that Scott Baker will start Friday in Kansas City, followed by Brian Duensing on Saturday and Pavano on Sunday.

The Twins are actually talking batting practice on the field before tonight's game, not in the indoor batting cages. They haven't hit outdoors since Thursday in Baltimore.

A box full of winter caps and another containing baseball caps with ear flaps were being pounced on before the pre-game workout. The first pitch temperature announcement should be interesting.

Haven't received any injury updates yet, and no word on who will start on Sunday in Kansas City. The rainouts and tomorrow's day-night doubleheader have created the need for a starter that day. Eric Hacker should get the start. Hopefully the Twins will be ready to reveal their choice today.

UPDATE: Joe Mauer is still rehabbing but Gardy didn't have too much more to add. Tsuyoshi Nishioka is making good progress but hasn't been cleared to start running yet.

Kevin Slowey threw 47 pitches today with no problems and appears close to coming off the DL. He'll join the Twins either this weekend in Kansas City or next week in Chicago.

Rays (11-11)

1. Sam Fuld, LF
2. Johnny Damon, DH
3. B.J.Upton, CF
4. Ben Zobrist, RF
5. Sean Rodriguez, 2B
6. Felipe Lopez, 3B
7. Kelly Shoppach, C
8. Dan Johnson, 1B
9. Reid Brignac, SS

Pitching:  Wade Davis, RHP

Twins (9-12)

1. Denard Span, CF
2. Alexi Casilla, SS
3. Jason Kubel, RF
4. Justin Morneau, DH
5.  Michael Cuddyer, RF
6. Danny Valencia, 3B
7. Drew Butera, C  Luke Hughes, 1B

8. Luke hughes, 1B Drew Butera, C

9. Matt Tolbert, 2B

Pitching: Francisco Liriano, LHP




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