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.

Thome, Nathan ready to return

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: June 22, 2011 - 7:42 PM

Twins designated hitter Jim Thome got five at bats on Wednesday during a simulated game in Fort Myers. That. apparently, is all the Twins needed to see because he will join the Twins on Friday in Milwaukee and be available for their series against the Brewers.

Reliever Joe Nathan will pitch tonight for Class AAA Rochester and, he too, will join the Twins on Friday.

Let the speculation begin about who will be moved to make room for the returning players. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire indicated that three catchers is a luxury, the Twins could send down either Drew Butera or Rene Rivera to make room for Thome.

The Nathan roster move will be even more interesting. Phil Dumatrait has not pitched since June 8. Jim Hoey and Anthony Swarzak have not pitched since June 10.

Jason Kubel (left foot sprain) is making progress with his running but hasn't run the bases yet.

Kevin Slowey (abdominal strain) threw about 30 pitches over two innings on Wednesday and will pitch for the Gulf Coast League Twins on Saturday.

Justin Morneau (left wrist) will have the cast removed from his wrist on Friday.

 I had a chance to walk around AT&T Park yesterday and it is a great stadium. The views of the bay are terrific, but not everyone can see it. The television and radio announcers can see the bay, but the writers are one floor below, too low to see the water.

Fans love hanging out in right field so much that there are lines painted on the ground to mark where fans can't stand so foot traffic can flow.

I guess the garlic fries are a big thing here, and you can smell them throughout the concourse. I had no idea there was a slide inside the giant Coca-Cola bottle in left field. I kept wondering where all the kids were headed, then saw the slide.

I have one big beef with this park. If you are in the main concourse it's very hard to keep up with the game. There are TV's but they are not placed in the right spots. And the concourse doesn't open up toward the field, like at Target Field.
AT&T Park is pretty cool, but not better than Target Field.

I still have Safeco Field in Seattle and Target Field as my top two parks, but I haven't been in PETCO Park in San Diego or PNC Park in Pittsburgh yet, and I hear those two are pretty cool.

Twins (32-39)

1. Ben Revere, CF
2. Alexi Casilla, 2B
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Michael Cuddyer, RF
5. Delmon Young, LF
6. Danny Valencia, 3B
7. Luke Hughes, 1B
8. Tsuyoshi Nishioka, SS
9. Nick Blackburn, RHP

Giants (39-34)

1. Aaron Rowand, CF
2. Emmanuel Burriss, 2B
3. Pablo Sandoval,3B
4. Aubrey Huff, 1B
5. Cody Ross, LF
6. Nate Schierholtz, RF
7. Brandon Crawford, SS
8. Eli Whiteside, C
9. Ryan Vogelsong, RHP

 

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