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.

Gibson wins No. 5 spot. Worley to Class AAA Rochester

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: March 21, 2014 - 2:36 PM

The Twins have settled on their starting rotation for the 2014 season.

The club is expected to announce that, barring late developments, righthanders Ricky Nolasco, Kevin Correia, Phil Hughes, Mike Pelfrey and Kyle Gibson will open the season as starters one through five. That announcement could come as soon as this afternoon,  following the Twins' game against the Mets.

Righthander Samuel Deduno, who has a 2.19 ERA this spring, will start the season in the bullpen.

Gibson comes out of the pack of contenders to nab a rotation spot after posting a 2.70 ERA in four outings (two starts). In 13.1 innings, Gibson has given up four earned runs on 10 hits and three walks with six strikeouts. He went 2-4 with a 5.63 ERA in 10 starts last season, his first taste of major league action. He vowed to come to spring training a different pitcher, and he has.

The Twins also feel that it's time to give Gibson a shot, as the former first-round pick is 26 years old.

Gibson's chances of making the rotation didn't look good when camp opened, as Scott Diamond, Vance Worley and Deduno are all out of options. Diamond posted a 5.79 ERA and Worley 13.50.

UPDATE: Worley has cleared waivers and has been outrighted to Class AAA Rochester. The Twins now have 39 players left in camp, and 39 players on their 40-man roster. Worley, last year's Opening Day starter, was placed on waivers on Wednesday and cleared around midday today.

The Twins feel Deduno is best suited for the bullpen, and can move into the rotation is someone falters or is injured.

The decision means that someone from last year's bullpen - the team's only strength last season - will be elbowed out. And with righthander Michael Tonkin pitching well in camp, two relievers from last years group might not make the Opening Day roster. Stay tuned. 
And also keep in mind that the Twins might put a pitcher in a package for a bat, as they are sweating over this offense right now.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    



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