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: Hammer, DL moves, International Signing Day

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III under Roster moves Updated: July 3, 2013 - 12:23 AM


1. HAMMER TO HAVE SURGERY: Josh Willingham hopes to be ready to return to action in four to six weeks after he has surgery on Wednesday to repair a torn meniscus and also recover from a bone bruise. My guess is that it will take every bit of six weeks for him to recover, putting him in a mid-to-late August return. That means he won't have much time to impress before the Aug. 31 trade deadline either. Willingham has just been removed as a trade target by GM's across the league.

2. I MUST REMEMBER: I wrote last week that the Twins would have some tough roster decisions to make once Aaron Hicks and Mike Pelfrey are ready to return. History tells us that roster moves often have a way of working themselves out. Willingham needs surgery. Here comes Hicks. Pelfrey has been named the starter for Saturday's game against Toronto (and possibly R.A. Dickey). Let's see how that one works its way out.

3. INTERNATIONAL SIGNING DAY: The Twins expect to sign several prospects from Latin America, Europe and Australia. They have agreements with outfielder Lewin Diaz ($1.4 million) and third baseman Roni Tapia ($550,000). Righthander Mayky Perez also is on their radar but they are trying to get him to reduce his asking price. Look for several more prospects to sign over the next couple of weeks. The Twins still have roughly $2 million to spend (based on what we know) which could come in handy as other teams run out of money. The Twins had the fourth-highest bonus pool, so only three other teams can outspend them. Keep in mind that, while there's a frenzy now, teams will be signing players up until next June.


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