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.

Blackburn update: Righthander will have surgery Wednesday.

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: January 14, 2013 - 7:03 PM

Twins righthander Nick Blackburn chances of making the Opening Day roster have been dashed after the Twins announced that he will have surgery to repair a ligament in his right wrist on Wednesday at the Mayo Clinic.

Blackburn will have the wrist in a cast for about six weeks, then he will need time to rehab before he can begin throwing. Blackburn, who will make $5.5 million in 2013, had a good shot at making the Opening Day rotation given his history of pitching well in spring training. 

Blackburn just had surgery at the end of last season to remove a bone chip from his elbow, and he's had wrist problems in the past.

Despite Blackburn's injury, the Twins aren't expected to look for pitching help. Plus they have a whopping 34 pitchers already lined up to come to camp this year. 

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, during a winter caravan stop in Owatonna on Monday, revealed that Blackburn was injured and would miss some time.

UPDATE: This will Blackburn's fourth surgery since the end of the 2010 season. He had bone spurs removed in 2010, surgery to free an entrapped nerve in 2011 and a bone chip removed last October. Minor surgeries, but they've added up to being a major headache for Blackburn.



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