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.

Three Twins postgame thoughts from LEN3: Gibson, Pinto, Bench

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: April 12, 2014 - 12:02 AM

Here are three thoughts following the Twins' 10-1 victory over the Royals:

1. GIBSON SOLID NOT SPECTACULAR: But he wasn't that far away from being spectacular on Friday. If not for the wild pitch that allowed Omar Infante to move to third - or the ground ball that Pedro Florimon flubbed that ruined a chance for an inning-ending double play - Gibson might have pitched into the eighth inning. The Royals could not center his pitches. His sinker was pretty nasty. And he pitched inside (what a concept). It was really impressive how he gave up the leadoff double to Mike Moustakas``Getting a taste of it last year, and then applying what he learned in spring training,'' Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson said. ``He did not come in bewildered.'' The Twins have made sizeable financial commitments to Ricky Nolasco, Phil Hughes and Mike Pelfrey, but the future of the Twins' rotation is Gibson and Alex Meyer.

2. PINTO PACKS PUNCH: Twins assistant General Manager Rob Antony said before the game that Josmil Pinto. ``Is one of our better hitters.'' That's big statement considering Pinto has one-plus month of major league experience. But he started off the five-run fourth inning with a blast into the seats in left. He doesn't get cheated on a swing and goes up there looking to do damage. It's fun to watch him and Oswaldo Arcia go to the plate.

3. GOING TO 13 PITCHERS: The Twins put Josh Willingham on the 15-day DL and will have Michael Tonkin in the clubhouse before Saturday's game. The Twins now have a three-man bench, but there's some flexibility there. Chris Herrmann can play left, right, first and catch. Darin Mastroianni can play all three outfield spots. Eduardo Escobar can play around the infield and a little outfield too. What it lacks is a bonafide pinch hitter, but it's not that easy finding a bench player who can hit. If he can, he's on the bench of a contender.

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