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.

Three Twins postgame thoughts from LEN3: Morneau, Sale, Hammer, Bonus!

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: June 20, 2013 - 12:16 AM


Here are three thoughts following the Twins' 7-4 win over the White Sox on Wednesday:

1. BARTENDER, CANADIAN CLUB PLEASE: Earlier in his sixth inning at-bat, Justin Morneau rocketed a foul ball into the camera well. The Twins were happy to see that. ``We thought that was good because he hadn't done that in a long time,'' Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. ``So once he did that, then he clicked on one. That was good stuff.'' Morneau had gone 189 plate appearances without a home run. The Dow Jones was still under 15,000 then. Can one home run lead to a lot more? Sure. I maintain that he's always been a good hitter and should rely on that when he's struggling to hit home runs. He's done a lot of extra work with hitting coach Tom Brunansky to turn on the power, and got a good result on Wednesday. Let's see if he runs with it now. ``It gets the monkey off my back and I can just go out and play and get rolling, hopefully,'' Morneau said.

2. SAILED PAST SALE: Chris Sale plucked Brian Dozier with a pitch to lead off the first inning. But then he started firing 96 mile an hour fastballs and looked like he was going to take the Twins apart. There was a belief at Target Field that the second inning rattled him, when he was struck by Oswaldo Arcia's hard grounder and later did something to his knee when he bumped Pedro Florimon while covering first base. Clete Thomas, who doesn't walk, drew a walk. Then Brian Dozier made Sale fail. ``If anything, I should have been better because I had more rest between them," Sale said of the trainer's visits when he spoke with Chicago media. The White Sox, folks, are 11 games under .500 for the first time since May 6, 2011.

3. WILLINGHAM'S KNEE: Josh Willingham took his time getting to first base on each of his two singles on Wednesday. He received a cortisone shot in his left knee on Sunday, but is still having trouble running. He sure looked fine in the third inning when he scampered from first to third on Morneau's single. ``Running isn't the problem,'' he said after the game. ``Starting and stopping is tough.'' The Twins hope the medication continues to work on the area make it easier for him to run.

BONUS: Infielder Levi Michael, the Twins' first round pick in 2011, had to be taken off the field by ambulance after colliding with fellow middle infielder Anderlin Mejia while running after a ball hit up the middle. Brad Steil, the Twins director of minor leagues, said in a text that Michael has a sprained neck but should be O.K. My guess is that he lands on the disabled list and is out for a little while.
 

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