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-Tigers: First pitch scheduled for 1:30 p.m.

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: May 26, 2012 - 1:06 PM

Come on over, folks. They plan to play today.

The Twins continue to tweak their starting rotation, a rotation that is statistically the worst in the game. Twins starters have a 6.49 ERA, worst in the majors by almost a run.

Opponents OPS (on base-plus-slugging) percentage: .912 - NINE-TWELVE!!!

Anyway, Francisco Liriano is back in the starting rotation and will get the ball on Wednesday against Oakland - which means he might get to face Manny Ramirez, whose 50-game suspension will be over by then.

Anthony Swarzak, who pitched with the flu yesterday, will head back to the bullpen. He has a 8.35 ERA as a starter but a 3.05 ERA as a reliever. Swarzak was sent home today with his flu, so the rest of the team doesn't get it.

Liriano posted a 4.91 ERA as a reliever in five games totaling 7.1 innings. He posted a 9.45 ERA as a starter. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he thinks Liriano has had a chance to get a mental break and is ready to return to the rotation.

What choice do the Twins have at this point?

Nick Blackburn threw in the bullpen before the game and will head to Class AAA Rochester for starts on Tuesday and Sunday, then join the Twins.

Alex Burnett, who had a slightly sore elbow, also threw in the bullpen and feels good.

Gardy said Ryan Doumit (calf) is close to returning to the starting lineup, but not today. From talking to Doumit today, I can tell he wanted to start today. I'm sure the Twins want to be careful with him in this weather.

Scott Baker's wife, Leann, gave birth last night to the couple's third child. Annalee Grace Baker checks in at 5 pounds, 7 ounces.

Tigers (21-24)

1. Quintin Berry, CF
2. Andy Dirks, LF
3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B
4. Prince Fielder, 1B
5. Delmon Young, DH
6. Brennan Boesch, RF
7. Jhonny Peralta, SS
8. Alex Avila, C
9. Ramon Santiago, 2B

Max Scherzer, RHP (3-5, 5.73)

Twins (15-30)

1. Denard Span, CF
2. Ben Revere, RF
3. Joe Mauer, DH
4. Josh Willingham, LF
5. Justin Morneau, 1B
6. Brian Dozier, SS
7. Alexi Casilla, 2B
8. Drew Butera, C
9. Jamey Carroll, 3B

Carl Pavano, RHP (2-3, 4.91)


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