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 spring training: Pirates in town

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: March 16, 2013 - 9:37 AM

SPRING TRAINING GAME NO. 21 - Twins vs Pirates

Storylines to watch

+ Hicks v Benson. It appeared that Aaron Hicks had the starting spring training job wrapped up after this three-homer game against Philadelphia. Hicks remains the favorite to open the season with the major league team, but Joe Benson is starting to show his stuff, lifting his batting average in recent games and playing well in the field.

+ Brian Dozier. He's putting together a decent spring. His .213 batting average isn't sparkling but, at times, his defense has been sparking. And he's forming a good partnership with shortstop Pedro Florimon.

+ Dozier said that both Florimon and Eduardo Escobar have worked on their English since the end of last season, but he knows a little Spanish himself and uses it with his Latin American teammates on the field.

+ Cole De Vries can continue his excellent spring with another strong outing today. He's making it hard for the team to not take him north. Liam Hendriks, on the other hand, is not helping his case.


Outfielder Oswaldo Arcia was optioned to Class AAA Rochester this morning, bringing the Twins camp roster down to 49 players. Arcia batted .188 in five games, but his spring was delayed until last week because of a intercostal strain on his left side. Still, the young man's swing is a thing of beauty, and it shouldn't take long for him to get locked in at Rochester. The only concern from the club was that he reported to camp  10-15 pounds heavy this spring.


1. Alex Pressley, Lf
2. Jose Tabata, RF
3. Andrew McCutchen, CF
4. Gaby Sanchez, 3B
5. Neil Walker, 2B
6. Brad Hawpe, DH
7. Brandon Inge, 1B
8. Clint Barmes, SS
9. Michael McKenry, C

Pitching: Gerrit Cole, RHP


1. Aaron Hicks, CF
2. Brian Dozier, 2B
3. Josh Willingham, LF
4. Justin Morneau, 1B
5. Ryan Doumit, DH
6. Joe Benson, RF
7. Ray Olmedo, 3B
8. Drew Butera, C
9. Pedro Florimon, SS

Pitching: Cole De Vries, RHP



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