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-Red Sox: The heavy hitters take the field

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: March 13, 2014 - 9:24 AM

Pedro Florimon said this morning that he's scheduled to play three innings in a minor league game tomorrow then five innings on Saturday. If that goes well, then he's expected to join the grown ups on Monday and get two weeks of games in before Opening Day.

The lineup on Thursday looked like a possible Opening Day batting order, except for Danny Santana in the No. 9 hole - the spot that Florimon is expected to hold down this season.

Can Florimon produce more at the plate than the .219 batting average he's mustered in 181 major league games? That remains to be seen. He stole 15 bases last season and could double that total if he could just bat .250. That would put his on base percentage at around .310.

In other news, I reported in today's dead-tree edition that Miguel Sano had successful Tommy John surgery but Dr. David Altchek discovered a completely torn UCL when he opened up the elbow. Sometimes doctors don't know the full extent of an injury until they get a peek inside the elbow. Both Russ Ortiz and Scott Baker were supposed to have basically cleanups but they turned to Tommy John surgeries once doctors looked inside. It happens. Sano's timable for return has not changed. He'll return to camp on Friday and will soon begin some rehab.

Check out these lineups. Boths teams taking the neighborhood rivarly seriously.

Red Sox

Daniel Nava, LF
Shane Victorino, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
A.J. Pierzynski, C
Xander Bogaerts, SS
Wil Middlebrooks, 3B
Jackie Bradley, Jr., CF

Jake Peavy, RHP


Aaron Hicks, CF
Brian Dozier, 2B
Joe Mauer, 1B
Josh Willingham, LF
Oswaldo Arcia, RF
Trevor Plouffe, 3B
Jason Kubel, DH
Kurt Suzuki, C
Danny Santana, SS

Phil Hughes, RHP


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