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.

Joe Mauer talks before the Twins-Royals game

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: August 29, 2013 - 12:24 PM

Twins catcher Joe Mauer met with the media before Thursday's game, telling them that he's feeling better and that he's trying "to get back as soon as I can. It is not any fun watching.''

Mauer hasn't played since Aug. 19 against the Mets when he took two foul balls off his facemask. The second one, in the seventh inning, he said, really got him. Mauer spent the next day in his hotel room then returned to the Twin Cites on Thursday. He's been battling symptoms ever since. The fact that he's attempting light exercises (he took a walk around the park yesterday) is a good sign, but he has several hurdles to clear before he returns to the field.

Other tidbits from Mauer's talk.

++He has dealt with sensitivity to light and sounds. ``But my symptoms have gotten better, which is good.''

++He started light exercise yesterday.

++Revealed that he had a concussion as a child, ``horsing around at school.''

++Said he felt fine until he got on the field Aug. 20 in Detroit. Had trouble with balance, the ball got on him quick, sensitivity to light.

++Shutting down for the season is. ``something I have not thought about,'' he said.

Other stuff

The Twins and Orioles have until 11 a.m. tomorrow to work out a deal for Josh Willingham. It would be a mild surprise if the sides do agree to a deal. Willingham is not having a good season, has had surgery, doesn't run well and makes $7 million next season. How much can the Twins get in return for a player with those credentials? But stranger things have happened.

The Twins will wrap up their season series with Kansas City today. The Royals are 14-4 this season. That tells you where the Twins are this season, when a team that's four games over .500 can dominate another club.


Kansas City (68-64)

1. Alex Gordon, LF
2. Emilo Bonifacio, 3B
3. Eric Hosmer, 1B
4. Billy Butler, DH
5. Justin Maxwell, RF
6. George Kotteras, C
7. Alcides Escobar, SS
8. Chris Getz, 2B
9. Jarrod Dyson, CF

Pitching: Bruce Chen, LHP

Twins (57-74)

1. Brian Dozier, 2B
2. Pedro Florimon, SS
3. Justin Morneau, 1B
4. Josh Willingham, LF
5. Ryan Doumit, C
6. Trevor Plouffe, 3B
7. Chris Colabello, 1B
8. Wilkin Ramirez, RF
9. Clete Thomas, CF

Pitching: Samuel Deduno, RHP



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