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.

Twins meet with Liriano before 4-3 loss to Royals

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: April 29, 2011 - 6:27 PM

Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson and manager Ron Gardenhire met with lefthander Francisco Liriano today in Kansas City in an attempt to turn around his awful start.
They showed him diagrams that reveal how inconsistent his release point has been. They talked about his confidence.  They talked to him about not making excuses - like claiming that the ball was too slick to handle in his last outing - and find ways to get it done.
Gardenhire didn't say Liriano is running out of chances, but righthander Kevin Slowey will throw 65-70 pitches on Monday during a rehab start in Florida as the Twins are stretching him out for a possible return to the rotation.
Other news:
Slugger Jim Thome's mildly strained oblique is much better today. He took some early swings this afternoon and will hit with the rest of the team during batting practice. He could be available as a pitch hitter. ``Maybe,'' he said. ``We'll see.'' It's more likely that he returns to the lineup tomorrow or Sunday.
Jason Repko (left quad) has been cleared to play and is ready to go.
Bad news for pitching prospect David Bromberg. He was hit with a line drive on Tuesday while pitching for Class AA New Britain and will miss several weeks with a broken forearm.

There's a major wind blowing from right to left tonight. Can't wait to see how that affects play.

There were Twins fans tailgating in the parking lot when I arrived at 2:40 p.m. I know of some others driving down for the series. Very impressive.

Sorry about the typos. I need to slow down.

Twins (9-15)

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

Pitching: Scott Baker, RHP

Royals (12-13)

1. Chris Getz, 2B
2. Melky Cabrera, CF
3. Alex Gordon, LF
4. Billy Butler, DH
5. Jeff Francoeur, RF
6. Wilson Betemit, 3B
7. Kila Ka'aihue, 1B
8. Brayan Pena, C
9. Alcides Escobar, SS

Pitching: Bruce Chen, LHP

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