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.

Twins prepare to take on the Fancy Fish

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: March 17, 2012 - 10:29 AM

I'm here at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla. Joe C is back in Fort Myers to watch Scott Baker's bullpen session.

In addition to Carl Pavano, Matt Maloney, Jeff Manship, Luis Perdomo, Alex Burnett and Brendan Wise are on the list to face the Marlins.

Watched pitching coach Rick Anderson hold a thorough session with Burnett a couple days ago about his mechanics. We'll see if Burnett can apply some of that session today.

Tsuyoshi Nishioka is starting at short and needs a good game to increase his chances of making the club as a utility player. He hasn't looked good in camp, negative body language, the whole thing. If he ends up in Rochester to start the season look for the Twins to search for a utility player who can play shortstop. My opinion: Whoever the utility player is will start at least 60 games this year because Alexi Casilla hasn't played 100 games in a season and Jamey Carroll, the gamer that he is, is 38 and will either need days off or have some sort of health issue. To me, Nishi isn't running as fast as he did last spring, so I wonder if he's not ready to let loose on the leg he broke last year. I'm sure it's healed, but sometimes a player has clear a mental hurdle because he can go all out again.

Look who's batting cleanup for the Fancy Fish!

And the Fancy Fish apparently will allow the Twins to use a DH but will allow Ricky Nolasco to hit. Hmmm.


Denard Span, CF
Nishi, SS
Danny Valencia, 3B
Chris Parmelee, 1B
Ryan Doumit, RF
Luke Hughes, DH
Michael Hollimon, 2B
J.R. Towles, C
Ben Revere, LF

Carl Pavano, RHP


Jose Reyes, SS
Omar Infante, 2B
Hanley Ramirez, 3B
Terry Tiffee, 1B
Austin Kearns, RF
Chris Coghlan, LF
Aaron Rowand, CF
Brett Hayes, C
Ricky Nolasco, RHP


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