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.

Many postgame thoughts from LEN3 following the Twins victory

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: May 14, 2014 - 12:17 AM

Here are a few thoughts following the Twins' 8-6 walk off win against Boston.

PARMELEE STEPS UP: One thing I need to follow up with Twins manager Ron Gardenhire on is why he let Chris Parmelee bat against a lefthander. I'm guessing that Aaron Hicks isn't hitting right now and that he didn't want to burn Josmil Pinto because Hicks would have had to replace him in the outfield if the game goes into extras and Kurt Suzuki would have to catch forever. Whatever the reason, it worked out because Parmelee put a nice swing a good fastball from Andrew Miller. It sort of reminded me of the Jim Thome walk-off homer against the White Sox and Matt Thornton in 2010. I rode down the elevator with Hawk Harrelson after that one, He was crushed.

NOLASCO NOT BAD: Parmelee cost him a run when he played Shane Victorino's ball into a triple in the sixth, but Ricky Nolasco pitched pretty well to everyone not named Big Papi. That's three straight quality starts for Nolasco. He's 1-1, 3.86 in those outings. He said he made a mechanical adjustment and it looks like his stuff has improved because of it. He has struck out 15 batters in his last 12 innings.

The rest are notes that didn't make the paper

HAMMER TIME?: Outfielder Josh Willingham took early batting practice on Tuesday and is definitely getting closer to playing in games again.
``He said his wrist feels good,'' Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.
 Indications are that Willingham will head out on a minor league rehabilitation assignment this weekend if the next few days of live batting practice go well.
``It's going to take some time,'' Gardenhire said of Willingham's return to the Twins' lineup. ``He's going to need at-bats.''
Willingham hasn't played since April 6 when he suffered a small fracture in his left wrist when he was hit by a pitch in Cleveland.

FIEN IS FINE: Reliever Casey Fien said he has full range of motion in his right arm after being hit near the biceps by a Victor Martinez line drive on Sunday.
``It's just sore to the touch,'' Fien said.
He planned to play catch before Tuesday's game and was prepared to offer his services if needed. His arm still sports a bruise from where the ball hit him, but it's not as bad as he thought it was going to be.
``I'll take a bruise for an out any day,'' Fien said.

SANTANA, CF: With Aaron Hicks batting .160, the Twins are working others into the center field mix. On Monday, that mean Danny Santana.
Santana played the final three innings of Sunday's game against the Tigers. Despite playing CF in just 24 games over his seven-year pro career, the Twins see enough in him to start him in center. That keeps Eduardo Escobar in the lineup at short. Escobar is batting .333 in 24 games.
``I came in here (Tuesday) and every one of my coaches said the same thing - START HIM,'' Gardenhire said. ``I said he hasn't done a lot of work out there, but he moves really well, he played a lot down in the lower minor leagues. We're happy with him. He brings some life to us, and we like that.
``He can move, he can throw, he can do it. You know what? We're going to let him go out there and play..''

MAUER BACK AT FIRST: Joe Mauer returned to first base on Tuesday for the first time since May 4, when back spasms forced him out of a game against Baltimore. He battled lower back pain after that, missing five games. He played in the final two game of the weekend series in Detroit, but could only be the designated hitter.

ROCHESTER NOTES: Mike Pelfrey has appeared at Class AAA Rochester, so it looks like he's about to begin a rehabilitation assignment....Oswaldo Arcia's rehab stint ends Thursday. He was 1-for-3 on Tuesday with a two-run homer in a 6-0 Red Wings win. He's batting .308 for the Red Wings. The Twins can call him up or option him to Rochester for more work. By the way, in the fifth inning, Rochester went home run-single-home run-home run-home run. And it was all off of Trevor Bauer, whose ERA rose to just 2.15 after that barrage....Twins GM Terry Ryan is doing better. He listened in on draft conference calls today. When asked if he's getting the itch to scout someone, assistant GM Rob Antony said, ``I think he's starting to look over the schedule.''


 

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