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.

Some workout notes from Tuesday

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: February 14, 2012 - 2:36 PM

FORT MYERS, FLA. -- I have pulled into my favorite coffee shop, the Courtyard Cafe, to get some work done. Boy I did I walk into an atmosphere,

Some guy is doing an Elvis Tribute Show right outside the shop. I'm trying to read, and he rolls in looking for a bottle of water. Then he walks over to where I'm sitting and starts practicing, ``Suspicious Minds.'' Ack.

More than a dozen players already are in town and are working out at the Lee County Sports Complex. Liam Hendriks and draftee Hudson Boyd threw off the mound. Scott Baker, Brian Duensing, Nick Blackburn, Glen Perkins and Tsuyoshi Nishioka ran in the outfield. Blackburn looks like he's lost a little weight. Baker is in outstanding shape as usual.

Chris Parmelee, J.R. Towles and other position players fielded grounders and took battling practice on another field.

Joe Mauer hit the weights then took some swings in the battling cages. Whoever hit before him had the sound system blasting, and it was pretty funny as Mauer tried to hit with Adele and R. Kelly in the background,

``I'm just jamming out,'' Mauer said, ``because I don't know how to turn this down.''

Ran into Joe Benson in the clubhouse. His hair is even bigger than it was last year. He's a little down. A two-sport star in high school,  he used to own the single-game rushing record of 367 yards at Joliet Catholic High School, located outside Chicago. But junior Ty Issac destroyed the record with a 515-yard performance in the state title game in November.

Hendriks, seeing an opening, suggested to Benson that he go back to high school to set another record,

Players began leaving the complex around noon. Twins officials were expected to fly in from the Twin Cities this afternoon.

I'll check in with notes each day before the pitchers and catchers open camp on Sunday. We're also waiting to see if the Twins can avoid arbitration with Alexi Casilla and sign him to a one-year deal.

Ack. The Elvis impersonator has slipped out of his jeweled jump suit and into a Tommy Bahama shirt. He's back in the coffee shop. Every minute or so, he sings a couple verses of an Elvis song. I gotta go. If I don't blog tomorrow, it's because my computer is broken after hitting this guy with it.

 

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