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.

Late night update: Twins in on Davis?

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: December 10, 2013 - 12:54 AM

The Twins have met with the agent for outfielder Rajai Davis, an indication that they are concerned about having a fall-back plan if Aaron Hicks doesn't win the centerfield job during spring training.

Davis, 33, has a career batting average of .268 and has stolen 268 bases in his career. He can motor but his .316 on base percentage doesn't make him a good fit for the leadoff spot.

It's unsure how serious the Twins are about Davis. On Monday, Terry Ryan spoke at length about Hicks struggles last season and suggested he needs to report to spring training a new man because of it.

``We all know Hicks has got ability,'' Ryan said. ``Now it is just a matter if the adjustability comes into his game. Whether or not he can handle some of the failures that come with that major league seat. You don't move a guy until people are convinced that they are not able to handle the physical part but (also) the mental part. That a part of the equation any time you make a move, promotion or demotion.''

Ryan was asked about the adjustments that needed to be made.

``Pitchers were pitching him a certain way and it just seemed like he was not making any adjustments to their approach,'' Ryan said. ``Ultimately it was too much, snowballed. Hicks couldn't get going defensively. Gardy and I showed a lot of patience. We waited a long time, maybe longer than people thought and it just didn't happen.''

(Reporter's note): The Twins weren't going to charge up the standings, so I saw no problem with letting Hicks stay in the majors. But when the Twins were ready to make a move, a minor league replacement was either slumping or was injured. They had to play Hicks, and it got ugly.

Ryan said on Monday that he must take the blame for Hicks staying up too long. I disagree somewhat, but the kid really took his lumps. There was no healthy fallback plan last season but the Twins might make sure they have one in 2014.


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