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.

Ramirez joins Twins. Albers makes second start. Indians send fireballer to the mound

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: August 12, 2013 - 6:03 PM

Darin Mastroianni is slightly injured, and is hitless at Rochester.

Aaron Hicks has a slight knock, and is barely hitting better than Mastroianni.

So the Twins have reinstated Wilkin Ramirez from Class AA New Britain, where he was on a rehab assignment following his battle with concussion symptoms. And he was batting just .172 in seven games.

It shows that the Twins really wanted another player who can play center field. Clete Thomas has played every game there since Hicks was sent down. Cleveland is starting righthanders in all three games of this series, so I'm not sure when Ramirez will start.

On to tonight's game.

I hope this is not taken the wrong way, but  can't wait to see Danny Salazar on the mound for the Indians tonight. It's always exciting to see young players with a lot of talent.

Salazar, a 23-year old from Santo Domingo, brings it. Detroit manager Jim Leyland raved last week at how easy Salazar made it look as he hit 98, 99 mph on the radar gun. He has 17 strikeouts in 13.2 innings as he prepares for his third major league start.

The Twins send Andrew Albers out for his home debut and second career start. He sparkled against the Royals last week in his debut, tossing 8.1 scoreless innings. It's a battle of young pitching talents tonight at Target Field.

Ramirez is here and in uniform. The Twins are out on the field for early batting practice. A lot has been made of the Twins not hitting well with runners in scoring position. Should we be surprised at this point of the season?

The Twins don't have a real leadoff hitter. They don't manufacture runs. They don't have a lot of basestealers on the roster. When they are going good they are driving the ball off or over the wall or are capitalizing on opponent's mistakes. They don't string hits together very often. With Willingham back and Colabello getting playing time, the Twins are a little more threatening at the plate.

And, as it has been many times in the past, when Mauer and Morneau are hitting, the Twins are a different team. That's what's happening right now.


Josh Willingham is back in left field after serving as the designated hitter during the Chicago series. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire is confident that Willingham's surgically-repaired knee can handle the duty. That allows Gardy to put Oswaldo Arcia in right field, where he's played more.

Chris Herrmann gets to work with Andrew Albers again as Joe Mauer is the DH tonight.

Gardy said he didn't learn that Jamey Carroll was traded until assistant GM Rob Antony told both of them after Sunday's game. ``That was a little awkward,'' Gardy said. ``Never had that happen before.''


Cleveland (63-55)

1. Michael Bourn, CF
2. Nick Swisher, 1B
3. Jason Kipnis, 2B
4. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
5. Carlos Santana, DH
6. Yan Gomes, C
7. Michael Brantley, LF
8. Mike Aviles, 3B
9. Drew Stubbs, RF

Twins (52-63)

1. Brian Dozier, 2B
2. Joe Mauer, DH
3. Justin Morneau, 1B
4. Josh Willingham, LF
5. Oswaldo Arcia, RF
6. Trevor Plouffe, 3B
7. Chris Herrmann, C
8. Clete Thomas, CF
9. Pedro Florimon, SS

Pitching: Andrew Albers, LHP


Twins can get to 10 games under .500 for the first time since July 6.


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