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 home opener against the Los Angeles Pujols of Anaheim

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: April 9, 2012 - 12:53 PM

Playing at home for the first time this season, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire hoped for one thing when he met with the media in his office before the game.

``We need to swing the bats," he said. "We need to take some pressure of some people. Some people are trying to do a little too much."

If righthander Nick Blackburn struggles at all today, the Twins better knock the ball aorund Target Field off of the Fighting Torii's of Anaheim.

Gardy mentioned that Liam Hendriks, laid out by food poisioning during the weekend in Baltimore, is expected to fly into the Twin Cities this afternoon after being released from the hosptial. The Twins will evaluate him in the bullpen before they re-insert him into the rotation. If he can't make his start, Anthony Swarzak will start against the Rangers this weekend at Target Field.

Lineup note: It makes sense to sit Chris Parmelee against lefty C.J. Wilson. Ryan Doumit is behind the plate, Gardy said, because he hasn't played right field at Target Field yet and wanted him a day to get used to the park. Doumit was expected to get pre-game work in the outfield. "My thought was to just go ahead and catch Doums (Doumz? Dooms?) again, let Joe (play first) again and give Dooms a chance to run around in the outfield before I put him out there. I know the wind is going to be blowing. I know the sun could pop up out there. That might be a little much to ask him to do that right away. Let me give him a day out there.''

It gives (Trevor) Plouffe to get out there against this lefty, to."

Pre-game schedule is as follows:

2 p.m: Pre-game activites
2:42: Team intros
2:56: National Anthem
2:58: Flyover and Fireworks
3:01: 2002 Twins celebration
3:15: First pitch

Angels (1-2)

Erick Aybar, SS
Howard Kendrick, 2B
Albert Pujols, 1B
Kendrys Morales, DH
Torii, RF
Bobby Abreu, LF
Alberto Callaspo, 3B
Chris Iannetta, C
Peter Bourjos, CF

C.J. Wilson, LHP

Twins (0-3)

Denard Span, CF
Jamey Carroll, SS
Joe Mauer, 1B
Justin Morneau, DH
Josh Willigham, LF
Ryan Doumit, C
Danny Valencia, 3B
Trevor Plouffe, RF
Alexi Casilla, 2B

Nick Blackburn, RHP



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