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.

Twins look for another big day against Chen

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: April 19, 2014 - 11:50 AM


The Twins knocked Bruce Chen out in the fourth inning last week at Target Field and look to do the same today when the teams meet at 1:10 p.m. Gardy is using the same lineup from that game, but has Josmil Pinto catching and Kurt Suzuki as DH.

One reason is that it's a day game after a night game. Another: Gardy believes that righthander Kevin Correia, who starts today, is a good pairing with Pinto, whose catching skills are developing. Correia knows what he wants to do on the mound and doesn't have the nastiest of stuff to handle. Suzuki, meanwhile, is 5-for-13 against Chen. There could be some hitting in this game, as both teams have a few players with good numbers against these starters.

This is somewhat of a big game in this series. Flamethrower Yordano Ventura is starting tomorrow, and Royals fans already have that game chalked up as a win. The Twins need today's to have a shot at winning the series before they head to Tampa Bay to play the Rays.

Gardy isn't looking to pair Pinto with one starter, but he will look for spots to get him behind the plate. He definitely will try to keep Pinto's bat in the lineup. Pinto is batting just .243 but has a .404 on base percentage. He's seeing 4.47 pitchers per plate appearance, second most among Twins players who have appeared in at least 12 games.

Hitting prospect Eddie Rosario reported to spring training last week, is working out and is eligible to play in extended spring training games. Rosario, along with pitcher Mark Hamburger, is serving a 50-game suspension for violating drug policy. That suspension is set to run out around May 25 (weather permitting). Once he's ready, Rosario will play second base and the outfield for New Britain.

Hearing that General Manager Terry Ryan could hit the road sometime in May to check in on minor league teams or scout for the draft. He should be through with radiation treatments by the end of this month but probably will need a couple weeks after that to build strength.

Twins (8-8)

Brian Dozier, 2B
Joe Mauer, C
Trevor Plouffe, 3B
Chris Colabello, RF
Jason Kubel, LF
Josmil Pinto, C
Kurt Suzuki, DH
Aaron Hicks, CF
Pedro Florimon, SS

Pitching: Kevin Correia, RHP

Royals (8-7)

Nori Aoki, RF
Omar Infante, 2B
Eric Hosmer, 1B
Salvador Perez, C
Tom Gordon, LF
Billy Butler, DH
Moose, 3B
Jason Maxwell, CF
Eduardo Escobar, SS

Pitching: Bruce Chen, RHP

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