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.

Twins' Hicks looking to improve preparation

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: May 15, 2014 - 6:18 PM

Twins center fielder Aaron Hicks agreed with Twins manager Ron Gardenhire and Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony’s assessment on Thursday– he needs to improve on his daily preparation.

After his walk-off single in the 4-3 win over the Red Sox, the 24-year-old outfielder said he needs to prepare better in order to become a stable big leaguer. He entered Thursday’s game batting .167 and was benched two games this week by Gardenhire.

On Wednesday, Gardenhire said Hicks needs to study pitchers more and put in extra work on all facets of his game.

“It was something we talked about,” Hicks said. “I need to start becoming a better professional and better player. There’s things I need to do to prepare for a regular game.”

Antony went even further and said Hicks has shown up to the park not knowing who the starting pitcher was. Hicks didn’t directly acknowledge that, but he said what pitchers throw and their tendencies in situations were important to understand.

“We don’t have video and all that stuff in the minors, so it’s definitely stuff you need to take advantage of to make you go to the next level,” Hicks said.

Time will tell if Hicks’ first career walk-off hit will be a turning point this season.



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