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.

Francisco Liriano returns to the rotation as the Twins face the A's

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: May 30, 2012 - 12:24 PM

Good morning!

Reggae music played in the background this morning as the Twins prepared for a possible sweep of the Oakland A's.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he was going to check with his bullpen to see who as available today. If Francisco Liriano struggles early, Anthony Swarzak will replace him. Glen Perkins is expected to get today off after throwing in four of the last five games.

Brian Duensing said he was hit on the right ankle by Jemile Weeks' comebacker yesterday, but he's good to go today if needed.

I checked with Alex Burnett, who didn't throw any curveballs during his outing on Monday. So I wondered if his recent elbow issue made him reluctant to throw the pitch. Burnett said he was able to throw curves during warmups but didn't need the curve in the game. He had a minor elbow issue last week but said he's not afraid to spin one if he has to.

Ben Revere continues to work on bunting, a skill he's really hasn't developed. He got a bunt hit in the seventh when he popped one over the pitcher's mound but failed to get down a bunt in the ninth inning, popping it up for an out. If Revere can improve his bunting he could have 10-15 more hits a year.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Josh Willingham's walk-off homer on Tuesday was the first time since 1995 that a Twins player erased a deficit of two or more runs with a walk-off homer. Kirby Puckett last did it with a three-run homer against the Mariners that year.

Congratulations to Twins' PR maven Dustin Morse, whose wife, Meghann, gave birth to their second child at 12:11 early Wednesday morning. Griffin Easton Morse weighed in at 9 pounds, 11 ounces and was 20.5 inches long. Good grief, Dustin.

Athletics (22-28)

1 Jemile Weeks, 2B
2. Collin Cowgill, LF
3. Josh Reddick, RF
4. Jonny Gomes, DH
5. Josh Donaldson, 3B
6. Kurt Suzuki, C
7. Daric Barton, 1B
8. Coco Crisp, CF
9. Cliff Pennington, SS

Tyson Ross, RHP

Twins (17-32)

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

Francisco Liriano, LHP


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