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.

Three Twins postgame thoughts from LEN3: Hicks, Bedard, Fuld, BONUS

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: April 24, 2014 - 7:20 PM

Here are three thoughts following the Twins' 9-7 victory over the Rays

1. HICKS NEEDED THAT: Aaron Hicks hit a lazy high changeup from Heath Bell into the seats in right for his first home run of the season and first in 110 at-bats. Hicks really needed that. It comes two days after he got the park for a round of early hitting with Twins coach Tom Brunansky. To me, it's also when he swings rather than how he swings. If he figures out when to be aggressive and jump on the right pitches. I think the results will be there.

2. TAKING ADVANTAGE: Erik Bedard is on the downside of his career and looked awful on Thursday. But I've watched the Twins enough in the past to not take it for granted that they are going to take advantage of a struggling pitcher. Bedard kept trying to hit that inside corner of the plate and kept failing. The Twins let him pitch himself into trouble instead of chasing bad pitches and bailing him out. That's progress to me,

3. SUPER SAM: Who is this guy? Sam Fuld goes 5-for-10 in two games after being idle while he was on waivers. His bat sure didn't get dull. This could be Darin Mastroianni's role, but he couldn't stay healthy and couldn't hit well enough to put his blazing speed on the bases enough.

BONUS THOUGHT: Alex Meyer could be knocking on the door over the next few weeks. Now that he's tweaked his change up to something he likes, he could really take off. He changed the grip on his change about two weeks ago. He threw 15 changeups last night and it helped him strike out 11 batters over 6.2 innings. He can hit 98 on the gun but hitters were getting good swing off of him because he wasn't throwing anything to get them off his fastball. A good change up can fix that. His start on Wednesday, by the way, came against Pawtucket and included three strikeouts of Will Middlebrooks.


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