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: Dozier the hybrid, Deduno and Angel, Hammer

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: May 17, 2014 - 10:48 PM

DOZIER DOING IT ALL: He's not your typical leadoff hitter, or is he? Brian Dozier has 11 home runs, which he doesn't like to talk about. I asked him about batting .318 over his last 17 games, and he said, ``batting average is the most overrated stat there is.'' Cool, man, but I didn't have time to calculate  your OBP, O.K? Actually, it was .403 over the previous 16 games, I hadn't factored in Saturday's game yet. Dozier does like talking about getting on base - and he's not too bad at it. His OBP is .377 (which is pretty good) thanks to 30 walks, which was third in the AL before the game. He also has 12 steals. Ron Gardenhire has dropped "I" word - igniter - when talking about Dozier. That was Paul Molitor's nickname, of course. ``That's pretty special being mentioned as a Paul Molitor nickname,'' Dozier said. ``I'll take it. He put a bat in Plouffe's locker the other day. I'm trying to steal it, when he's not looking. Anything I can get my hands on involving Molitor is pretty good.'' So...12 homers, .377 on base percentage, 12 steals. He's not a power hitter. He's not a leadoff hitter. He's a hybrid. A hybrid hitter.

DEDUNO AND HERNANDEZ: There was some interesting exchanges between home plate umpire Angel Hernandez and righthander Samuel Deduno. Deduno thought one of his pitches in the first inning should have been called a strike, and he sort of slumped his shoulders and steeped off the rubber. Catcher Josmil Pinto went out to talk to Deduno, but Hernandez thought that he was being shown up and was seething. After the inning, Hernandez started barking at Deduno as he walked off the field. I'm just waiting for Twins manager Ron Gardenhire to get involved. He doesn't have a great history with Hernandez, so I was waiting for the situation to boil over, Gardy to get tossed and Paul Molitor to manage the rest of the night because Terry Steinbach was at his son's college graduation. That didn't happen. Deduno came out for the second inning, and Hernandez meets him at the mound, talks with him, pats him on the fanny and goes behind the plate. Heard after the game that Hernandez apologized to Deduno for what he did the previous inning. A very interesting start to the game.

WILLINGHAM UPDATE: Josh Willingham played five innings in left field for Class AAA Rochester in his second rehab game, going 2-for-3 with a double, RBI and strikeout. He’s now 2-for-7 over his first two rehab games.  Don't expect him to be called up on Sunday when the Twins add a fourth bench player for their upcoming National League road trip. He's not ready to play nine innings and needs to get his swing sharp. Mike Pelfrey apparently coached first base for part of the game,


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