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 camp Day 8: Sano, Vargas, Pinto, Barltett, Dozier, Sid.

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: February 25, 2014 - 10:09 AM

You always have to remember that what happens during early spring workouts can be misleading, good and bad.

I've been writing a lot here about the exploits of Miguel Sano and Kennys Vargas during batting practice. The pair have pummeled some baseball down here - during b.p. thrown by coaches and pitchers.

On Sunday, Mike Pelfrey was on the mound when Vargas stepped in the batter's box. ``No swing!'' Pelfrey yelled at him. ``Just track the ball!'' Vargas smiled. Pelfrey threw three curveballs. The third one was hung over the plate and - pow! - Vargas launched it over the fence.

Pelfrey, Anthony Swarzak and Jason Bartlett all have told me at different times in this camp how Vargas - a switch-hitter listed at 6-5 and 273 pounds - resembles David Ortiz at the plate when he's batting lefthanded.

I'm hearing that there's chance that Sano, Vargas and Byron Buxton will all start the season at Class AA New Britain. You can fill out the lineup card with a bunch of Sid Hartmans and it still would be worth watching.

Everything hasn't been perfect down here. Watched the outfielders throw on the main field and many off the throws were poor. Aaron Hicks, Alex Presley and Oswaldo Arcia were some of the culprits.

Does that mean it's going to happen during the season? No. Just like some of the power displays down here, you take note of what happens but it doesn't matter until the games count. We're talking 'bout practice! Not a game...practice!.


Brian Dozier said his back, which was sore last week, feels great, but the Twins have held him out of some work this week.

Josmil Pinto, also slowed by a back injury, is starting to do more activities.

Pedro Florimon, who opened camp by heading to the hospital because of an inflamed appendix, is going to start doing some very light activities followed surgery.

Jason Bartlett on Wednesday will take fly balls in the outfield as he tries to make the team as a utility player. He said he has never played in the outfield on any level.

Will check in later with updates.


more twins blogs


Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters