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, Nolasco crushed by Mets 9-1

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: March 21, 2014 - 3:09 PM

Righthander Ricky Nolasco appears to be saving everything for the regular season.

Nolasco was hit hard Friday in his next-to-last outing of spring training, as the Mets used seven first-inning runs to cruise to a 9-1 win at Hammond Stadium. And most of the hits weren't bloops.

The Mets hit three doubles, one triple and got a two-run home run by Taylor Teagarden as they sent 10 men to the plate in the first inning. Most of Nolasco's offerings were  belt high and over the middle of the plate, and the Mets didn't miss. Nolasco, in three innings, gave up seven runs on six hits and two walks with three strikeouts. His spring training ERA rose from 3.27 to 7.07.

So he was asked if he was working on something in particular.

``Nope,'' he began. ``Yeah, getting outs. I gave my outfielders some conditioning today.''

Nolasco will make one more start this spring before taking the ball on March 31 in the season opener at Chicago.

Lucas Duda hit a two-run home run off of Casey Fien for the final two Mets runs.

Jason Kubel beat out an infield hit, singled and walked in three at-bats on Friday. He's 4-for-5 over his last two games,



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