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.

Postgame: Plouffe adding pop to lineup

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: June 9, 2012 - 7:33 PM

Danny Valencia is batting .214 at Class AAA Rochester.

Trevor Plouffe is going have some time to show what he can do at third base.

Plouffe was 2-for-4 on Saturday with a homer in the Twins' 11-3 win over the Cubs. I know he's batting .208 and needs to escape the Punto zone, but he has been swing better lately. He entered Saturday batting .323 over his previous eight games with a whopping .774 slugging percentage - and he added a homer and double to that today.

He feels he's been taking much better at bats lately.

"Getting it those (pitcher's) counts and not chasing pitchers it's the pitcher's job to get you to chase those," he said. "Earlier in the season, I was doing that. I've been able to work the count a little more and get into those hitter's counts."

He recently spoke with Twins manager Ron Gardenhire about his opportunity at third. He's going to get his shot there and it's up to him to ruin with it. So far, so good.


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