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: King Felix holds court tonight

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: July 26, 2013 - 7:05 PM

Twins General Manager Terry Ryan spoke with catcher Joe Mauer on Thursday night and had no problems with Mauer's desire to remain with his wife and newborn daughters.

Mauer's paternity leave was scheduled to end in time for him to play on Saturday. Now, Mauer will be moved to the restricted list and will not be paid for two games.

``I'll never question a person for wanting to take care of his kids and wife,'' manager Ron Gardenhire said.

That means Drew Butera, called up to replace Mauer on the roster, will remain with the team through the end of the homestand. And he's in tonight's lineup.

Too bad Mauer can't be in two places at once. He's a career .424 hitter against Felix Hernandez. Pedro Florimon and Trevor Plouffe are 1 for 3 against him. That's it for Twins players doing well - and that's not even a sample size.

I guess it's one way of stating just how tough of a challenge the Twins face tonight. Hernandez is 6-5 with a 2.17 ERA in his career against the Twins, but has thrown 24 consecutive innings against the Twins. The Twins were shutout by Jered Weaver, nearly shut out  by Hisashi Iwakuma and now have to solve King Felix. Pack. A. Lunch.

The Mariners have placed catcher Mike Zunino on the disabled list with a broken hammate bone and have singed Humberto Quintero.

Twins (43-56)

1. Brian Dozier, 2B
2. Jamey Carroll, 3B
3. Justin Morneau, 1B
4. Ryan Doumit, DH
5. Chris Herrmann, RF
6. Clete Thomas, LF
7. Aaron Hicks, CF
8. Drew Butera, C
9. Pedro Florimon, SS

Pitching: Felix Hernandez, RHP

Mariners (49-53)

1. Jason Bay, RF
2. Nick Franklin, 2B
3. Raul Ibanez, LF
4. Kendrys Morales, DH
5. Kyle Seager, 3B
6. Justin Smoak, 1B
7. Dustin Ackley, CF
8. Brendan Ryan, SS
9. Henry Blanco, C

Pitching: Scott Diamond, LHP



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