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.

Twins spring training: Morneau, Pressly, Tonkin, Berrios, Plouffe

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: February 20, 2013 - 11:21 AM


Justin Morneau is one of about 200 major league players who has worn the Rawlings S100 Pro Comp helmet, which is designed to protect players from balls thrown up to 100 miles an hour.

MLB announced this morning that, starting with exhibition games, all players will be required to wear the S100. It's included in the current collective bargaining agreement.
It was a necessary move after several players, including Morneau, have suffered concussions from being beaned. Morneau suffered a concussion in 2010 while sliding into second and battled symptoms for more than a year after that. But don't forget that Morneau also took a Ron Villone fastball to the head in 2005.

In other headwear news, the Twins already have three different caps they can wear down here. I was reminded this morning that the league is adding "interview caps," this year. Yes, caps that are to be worn while a player is being interviewed or during appearances. Here's a picture of the Mets' 'I-hat'.

UPDATE:The hats will be optional, but there will be some in the Twins clubhouse this season.

Let's move on...

The Twins are on the main field working on relays right now. Once batting practice starts, the matchup I'm most interested today is Rule 5 draft pick Ryan Pressly facing the Mauer-Willingham-Morneau-Plouffe batting group. Michel Tonkin will face Brian Dozier and Oswaldo Arica on Field 5.

A couple of things from yesterday

Jose Berrios, one of the Twins' supplemental round picks in last year's draft, also raised eyebrows. He worked fast, stayed around the plate and onlookers buzzed with approval as he threw several sharp breaking balls.
``And this kid is 18 years old?'' Twins coach Scott Ullger asked at one point.
``And he's not afraid to come inside,'' said former Gopher Kyle Knudson, who faced Berrios.
The guy looks like a clubhouse attendant when he walks around. But he has grown man stuff. His fastball is around 93 miles an hour, and it's not out the question that he finds another mph or two. And he has a good curveball and isn't afraid to throw a change.
``You can hear the ball buzzing as it comes in,'' catcher Ryan Doumit said between pitches.
Berrios and Kyle Gibson have been the most impressive through two days of b.p.

Trevor Plouffe is still slowed by a sore calf, but did some light running and took batting practice yesterday.

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