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.

Waldrop shuts down. Pavano keeps quiet. Anyone can play first base?

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: March 30, 2012 - 10:01 AM

Righthander Kyle Waldrop summed up his last week in two words.

``It stinks,'' he said.

Waldrop has been slowed by an elbow strain that has knocked him out of contention for a roster spot. He hasn't pitched since last Friday against the Yankees. He tried to throw on Thursday but it didn't feel right. So now he's been shut down for a few days and try it again.

Meanwhile, he will have to watch the Twins pack up and leave for Baltimore on Wednesday without him.

The discomfort is on the inside of his elbow.

"It's disappointing but it's baseball,'' said Waldrop, who has a 1.50 ERA in six Grapefruit League appearances. "Injuries happen. I just have to take care of it right now and move forward. It's a long season.''

Righthander Carl Pavano no comment on Friday in regards to an ongoing investigation in which a high school classmate attempted to extort money from him in return for silence about a relationship they had. Pavano would only say that its a legal matter.

Trevor Plouffe (strained right hamstring) is starting in outfield for the first time since Mar. 18.

There's a very interesting matchup of first baseman today.

Extra players today: RHP Matt Hauser, IF Estarlin De Los Santos, OF Angel Morales, OF Evan Bigley

Red Sox

Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Cody Ross, Lf
Ryan Sweeney, RF
Mike Aviles, SS
Nick Punto, 1B

Daniel Bard, RHP - 1-2, 7.23 this spring, think the Red Sox are sweating out this one?


Denard Span, CF
Brian Dozier, SS
Joe Mauer, C
Justin Morneau, DH
Josh Willingham, LF
Sean Burroughs, 3B
Luke Hughes, 1B
Trevor Plouffe,.RF
Michael Hollimon, 2B

Nick Blackburn, RHP


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