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.

Three Twins postgame thoughts from LEN3: Starters, Hicks, Morneau

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: April 5, 2013 - 9:09 AM


There are three things that come to mind following the Twins' 8-2 win over the Tigers:

1. NICE DEBUTS: Twins starters have a 2.45 ERA through three games - all coming from National League imports Vance Worley, Kevin Correia and Mike Pelfrey. All three improved as spring training goes along but there was plenty of trepidation about what these guys would do against the Tigers. They held their own, that's what they did. They pitched inside and stayed on the corners for most of the series. Another reason why spring training numbers sometimes have to be taken lightly.

2. HICKS HITS: Aaron Hicks didn't show signs that he was frustrated while opening his career with a 0-for-11 skid. And I'll give him credit, he didn't show much excitement after finally getting that hit, a sharp single to right in the eighth inning that scored two runs. There was some relief, though. ``It was more of me just being anxious,'' he said. ``I was taking at bats I usually don't. Even more, though, is the fact that we got two wins from Detroit and going into Baltimore 2-1 is a going to be a lot better.'' Not only did he take the focus off of himself he did it pretty smoothly. He told me there were no more than four reporters at one time last season at Class AA New Britain. On Thursday there were 12-15. Has to be quite an adjustment for him.

3. MORNEAU OPTIMISTIC: One series down, many more to go. Justin Morneau, during spring training, spoke highly of the new starters, was impressed with Hicks looking like he belonged and felt the offense was going to be a force. Winning two of three games against Detroit reinforced some of those things he believed. ``It's a good sign.'' he said, ``and anything can happen when you have confidence.'' Morneau looks confident at the plate. He has a .538 on base percentage and worked an 11-pitch walk in the big eighth inning on Thursday.




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