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 benched, Tolbert in at short

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: August 6, 2011 - 5:46 PM

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was on the field early today with Matt Tolbert, Trevor Plouffe and Michael Cuddyer, working on double plays and other things. Tolbert gets the start at short today.

Tsuyoshi Nishioka has a hit in each of his last four games and has made more solid contact lately, but he's starting today on the bench.


Barring any more injuries, Gardenhire is looking at tough daily lineup decisions when Justin Morneau returns from the disabled list. He pointed out that playing first base has allowed Joe Mauer to remain in the lineup after getting beat up behind the plate. That option won't be there as much when No. 33 returns.

``How many times you'll be able to play Mauer at first base with Morneau (here)?'' Gardy asked. ``If you're going to DH Mourny a few times and play Mauer at first base you can do that to give Mourny a break every once in awhile.

``It's going to be interesting. Do I put Cuddy at short to keep his bat in the lineup? I'll entertain myself again.''

Gardenhire did say that Mauer playing first base has, ``helped him immensely. And knowing that will help him next year and down the road.''

That was a joke.....we think.

  • Gardy wants to give Nishioka a break today despite his four-game hitting streak.
  • The Twins will learn Monday about the condition of righthander Kyle Gibson, but there remain concerns that he might need elbow surgery.
  • Morneau was 0-for-4 yesterday and is scheduled to play at least seven innings tonight for Rochester. He's expected to play at least a week's worth of game before a decision to activate him will be made.

White Sox (53-58)

1. Juan Pierre, LF
2. Alexei Ramirez, SS
3. Paul Konerko, DH
4. Adam dunn, 1B
5. Alex Rios, CF
6. A.J., C
7. Gordon Beckham, 2B
8. Alejandro De Aza, RF
9. Brent Morel, 3B

Pitching: Zach Stewart, RHP

Twins (51-61)

1. Denard Span, CF
2. Joe Mauer, C
3. Michael Cuddyer, 2B
4. Jason Kubel, RF
5. Jim Thome, DH
6. Danny Valencia, 3B
7. Delmon Young, LF
8. Matt Tolbert, SS
9  Drew Butera, C

Pitching: Carl Pavano, RHP


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