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-Mariners: A chance to finish the week strong

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: June 2, 2013 - 11:54 AM

Justin Morneau is out of the lineup for a second straight game because of the flu, but he did send manager Ron Gardenhire a text message that, if he had to play today, it would be as a DH only.

Gardenhire, however, decided not to push it when Morneau isn't 100 percent. ``He's still feeling it pretty good,'' Gardenhire said. ``Stomach, the whole package.''

Morneau is at the ballpark and could be a pinch hit option in the late innings. ``We'll see about availability as the game goes along.'' Gardenhire said.

The timing is bad for Morneau, who has his annual charity event tonight.

Trevor Plouffe (left calf) is making steady progress with his rehab. The Twins have mixed in Eduardo Escobar and Jamey Carroll at third base in Plouffe's absence, giving the, a solid infield defense. Offensively, they are getting whatever they can get. Gardenhire said not only does Plouffe need to get healthy, he needs to start driving the ball.

There's a chance Plouffe might head out on a minor league rehabilitation assignment once he's ready.

Gardy said he'll probably stick with a 13-man pitching staff for the time being, which means that he'll head into an interleague road series at Washington with a four-man bench.
But he'll have some flexibility with Ryan Doumit and Chris Hermann, catchers who can play a little outfield.

On the mound for the Mariners today is righthander Jeremy Bonderman, who hasn't pitched in the majors since the end of the 2010 season. He had Tommy John surgery in April of 2012. Seattle placed Justin Smoak (oblique strain) on the disabled list to make room for Bonderman.

Mariners (24-32)

1. Michael Saunders, CF
2. Jason Bay, LF
3. Kyle Seager, 3B
4. Kendrys Morales, DH
5. Raul Ibanez, RF
6. Alex Liddi, 1B
7. Carlos Triunfel, 2B
8. Jesus Sucre, C
9. Brendan Ryan, SS

Pitching: Jeremy Bonderman, RHP

Twins (24-29)

1. Eduardo Escobar,  3B
2. Joe Mauer, 1B
3. Josh Willingham, DH
4. Ryan Doumit, C
5. Chris Parmelee, RF
6. Chris Hermann, LF
7. Brian Dozier, 2B
8. Aaron Hicks, CF
9. Pedro Florimon, SS

Scott Diamond, LHP





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