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 drop Blackburn, Nishioka from roster

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: August 20, 2012 - 5:45 PM

The Twins on Monday outrighted righthander Nick Blackburn and infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka off their 40-man roster. Both players will remain with the organization, as Blackburn was sent to Rochester and Nishioka will remain with the Red Wings.

In 19 starts, Blackburn went 4-9 with a 7.39 ERA. He pitched very well in spring training and appeared ready for a strong season. But he struggled, was injured, and struggled some more. A sinkerballer, Blackburn must keep the ball down but time and time again would leave pitches up in the zone and get hit hard.

The Twins will announce a replacement for Blackburn on Tuesday. Liam Hendriks could get another shot, but this team called up Matt Carson when everyone expected Chris Parmelee to get the nod.

The move with Nishioka isn't surprising and is probably overdue. He was called up a couple weeks ago and responded with three awful games in Cleveland and was never seen in the lineup again. I mean, I never got to see him play in person. Joe C. was on the trip to Cleveland and got to write about how Nishi played, I didn't.

The Twins now have two open spots on their 40-man roster, not a bad thing with September callups just around the corner.

Will check in later this afternoon from Oak-Town with lineups and the Twins explanations for these moves.

[UPDATE]: The A's have announced that lefthander Brett Anderson, who has missed over a season because of Tommy John surgery, will start for Oakland on Tuesday.

If you remember, Brett Anderson was Gio Gonzales before Gio Gonzalez became Gio Gonzales. Or something like that....


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