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-Pirates: Worley's turn, plus other notes

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: February 25, 2013 - 1:04 PM


Vance Worley makes his Twins debut today when he faces the Pittsburgh Pirates at Hammond Stadium. Worley is in the running to be the Twins' Opening Day starter. In fact, the Twins' Apr. 1 opener against the Tigers falls on Worley's every-fifth-day schedule.

That's kind of a tease, though. The Twins are on a four-man rotation for now and will juggle things as camp continues. Mike Pelfrey will start on Tuesday in Dunedin and Kevin Correia will start on Wednesday against Philadelphia. Liam Hendriks will start Thursday against Baltimore.

But Worley is a candidate to start that first game, that's not a tease.

Some more pre-game notes:

  • Checked on the possibility of Kyle Gibson opening the season in the bullpen. Negative, I was told. Gibson has no experience as a reliever, so the Twins don't want to take him out of his routine. I was wondering if the Twins would follow the Kris Medlin plan and have him pitch out of the bullpen his first season back from Tommy John surgery. Medlin has experience as a reliever. Gibson doesn't.
  • Justin Morneau played six innings on Sunday in the Twins home opener, while Joe Mauer caught five. Both will play more innings early in camp as they prepare for the World Baseball Classic. I don't see them taking long bus rides, though. So look for them to stay at home while the Twins go on three-hour bus rides to Dunedin and Jupiter this week. UPDATE: Hearing they both will be on the trip to Dunedin tomorrow, so scratch that.
  • Former Twin Garrett Jones is on the trip for the Pirates.


1. Alex Pressly, CF
2. Jordy Mercer, SS
3. Travis Snider, RF
4. Jerry Sands, DH
5. Garrett Jones, 1B
6. Matt Hague, 3B
7. Tony Sanchez, C
8. Felix Pie, LF
9. Anderson Hernandez, 2B

RHP Kyle McPherson, RHP, with Jeanmar Gomez, Phil Irwin, Chris Leroux, Kris Johnson and KYLE WALDROP


1. Joe Benson, CF
2. Jamey Carroll, 3B
3. Joe Mauer, DH
4. Josh Willingham, LF
5. Justin Morneau, 1B
6. Ryan Doumit, C
7. Wilkin Ramirez, RF
8. Brian Dozier, 2B
9. Ray Olmedo, SS

RHP Vance Worley, with Alex Burnett, Casey Fien, Cole DeVries, Samuel Deduno, Esmerling Vasquez, Pedro Hernandez, Michael Tonkin and Bryan Augenstein also on the list to pitch.


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