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: Last place, Mauer, more roster moves

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III under Roster moves Updated: May 8, 2014 - 6:15 PM


Here are three thoughts from the Twins' 9-4 loss to Cleveland


THE FALL: The Twins began the week in second place in the A.L. Central. Now they are tied with Cleveland for last place and are in Detroit for a three-game series this weekend. Can they escape the cellar this weekend? Without Joe Mauer? With Josh Willingham and Oswaldo Arcia still on the mend? Things won't get easier for them as they play host to Boston at Target Field starting Tuesday.

THE MAUER SITUATION: Can Joe Mauer avoid the disabled list? The first baseman has been playing catch and swinging lightly while treating his sore back. That ends Friday, when he plans to increase his activities. ``I'm going to get to the park early and give it a good test and see where we are at,'' Mauer said.  Mauer has told the Twins that he thinks that he can be ready to play by Friday or Saturday.
``I think Saturday is more realistic,'' Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. If Mauer can't play by then, look for him to land on the disabled list. He will have missed a week of games by then, so missing another week won't be that much of a stretch.  Mauer said he's feeling better, but I don't think he has enough time.

OTHER MOVES:  You can't give up on Pedro Florimon just yet. He'll go down to Rochester and see if he can get his swing going. I will state that, his track record says he won't become a good offensive player. Can he become somewhat functional, bat .240 so he can steal a few more bases? Maybe. But he's got to figure out something on offense quickly...In a perfect world, Aaron Hicks would spend some games at Rochester to get his bat going before being activated from the DL. But the Twins need outfielders. As long as he passes the concussion tests on Friday. He should be in uniform. I don't have a sense on the other player the Twins might call up. Gardy called it ``a surprise.'' Kenny Wilson? Eric Fryer? Another transaction? We'll see. BTW, Brooks Raley was claimed off waivers from Anaheim. The Twins needed to make room for Matt Guerrier and tried to get Raley through outright waivers.

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