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 notes from the intrasquad game and middle of exhibition game

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: February 24, 2013 - 2:06 PM


The Twins held a six-inning intrasquad game on Sunday morning to give the younger players in camp a chance to show their stuff. A team led by righthander P.J. Walters beat a team led by righthander Trevor May. 4-3

Walters looked smooth as he threw two scoreless innings. Righthander Alex Meyer followed him with two scoreless innings but labored some in his second inning. Righthander B.J. Hermsen struggled, giving up three runs over two innings.

May threw two scoreless innings, then was replaced by righthander Jose Berrios. Berrios was good for one inning, struggled the next and needed 40 pitches for his outing. Lefthander Caleb Thielbar, a former St. Paul Saint, gave up a run in an inning of work.

Brian Dinkelman went 2-for-3 with double. Third baseman James Beresford made a fine diving grab of Darin Mastroianni's hot grounder in the first then threw him out, saving a double.

The game doubled as a way to help get several players ready for the World Baseball Classic.  Berrios (Puerto Rico), Beresford (Australia), second baseman Eddie Rosario (Puerto Rico) and lefthander Andrew Albers (Canada), first baseman Chris Colabello (Italy), catcher Drew Butera (Italy) all played in the early game.

B Game coming

The Twins have scheduled a B game for 9 a.m. at Boston on Feb. 28 as they look for ways to make sure the pitchers in camp are evaluated off of game action. The coaching staff will attend that game then return to Hammond Stadium for the noon game against the Orioles.

Ouch updates

Third baseman Trevor Plouffe will make his spring training debut on Tuesday after making a full recovery from a strained right calf. Plouffe was ready to play on Sunday but the Twins decided to give him extra time.
``We've got all kinds of people here to look at,'' Ryan said.

Ryan added that Outfielder Oswaldo Arcia will miss at least a week with a strain of his left intercostal muscle. That's too bad. Many people were eager to see what Arcia, who is filling out nicely, can do this spring.

Scott Diamond threw another light bullpen. He was excited about being allowed to throw changeups. That's what it's like to take small steps before big ones.

Observations

I've never seen Daniel Santana before this camp. I immediately took a liking to him. He was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2007. He batted .286 last year at Class A Fort Myers with eight homers, 60 RBI and 17 steals. He's one of the most athletic middle infielders I've seen since covering the Twins. Hope he figures it out and becomes a prospect. ``He's a bag full of skills,'' GM Terry Ryan said. ``He's got all kinds of ability and athleticism. It's just a matter of consistency.''

Wilkin Ramirez is a physical specimen. He batted .276 at Class AAA Rochester last season with 15 homers and 54 RBI. He runs very well, too. He's 27, but you wish he would have some sort of Jose Bautista epiphany and harness his power more.

The Twins are really working the youngsters today. Rosario, Santana, Beresford, Ramirez, Clete Thomas and Josmil Pinto played in the morning game and have just entered the Rays game.

Kyle Gibson threw a pitch in the fourth inning that registered 96 miles an hour on the stadium radar gun. Say what? I checked wtih a scout in the stands, and Gibson topped out at 95. That's pretty darn good for a first outing. Gibson has to fine tune his command in future outings, but if he's feeling good enough to let it loose like that, wow.

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