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.

Nishioka and Perkins will return to Twins by Wednesday.

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: June 14, 2011 - 11:59 AM

The Twins have been pretty secretive about when their injured players will return. Infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka has provided some clarity about his situation.

Nishioka has told the Japanese media who are following him with Class AAA Rochester that he could return to the Twins by Wednesday. And all indications are that lefthander Glen Perkins will be on the same plane back to the Twin Cities.

Here's the Kyodo News report about Nishi.

 TOLEDO (Kyodo) -- Tsuyoshi Nishioka said Sunday he could return to the Minnesota Twins as early as Wednesday after a couple of more games in Triple-A ball.

Nishioka, who has been out with a broken left fibula he suffered one week into the season, went 2-for-5 with an RBI in Rochester's game against Toledo on Sunday.

Batting leadoff, the Japanese shortstop stroked an RBI double to right in the fourth inning and singled up the middle in the sixth. Nishioka had been on assignment with High-A Fort Myers until Friday.

Nishioka is scheduled to make two more appearances with Rochester before rejoining the Twins, who play the Chicago White Sox in a three-game homestand starting Tuesday.

"I'm here because there's a pitcher close to making the majors," Nishioka said. "It helps to have the opportunity to check out someone that good while he's down here. And I'm happy to get the hits, too."

That quote is rough, but you get the idea. He's facing better competition.

Nishioka is 4-for-8 with a double in two games with Rochester. He's expected to play tonight against Toledo then head for the Twin Cities. Perkins is expected to pitch tonight too and, according to a good source, should be on the same plane with Nishioka on Wednesday - barring any setbacks.

It will be interesting to see who comes off the 40-man roster to make room for Nishioka, who is on the 60-day DL. as well as who goes to Rochester to make room for both players.

It's still worth monitoring Justin Morneau's situation. Morneau (left wrist/neck/left shoulder) has been a warrior about staying in the lineup, but the Twins might decide to DL him and activate Nishioka. I haven't spoken with Morneau since Sunday, so he might be feeling great now and will stay off the DL. We'll find out later this afternoon how he's feeling.

Making room for Perkins will be interesting. Lefthanders Phil Dumatrait and Chuck James have pitched pretty well lately. Stay tuned. Joe C. has the coverage today.

That game against Toledo, by the way, starts at 6 p.m.



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