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: Scott Baker, Eduardo Nunez, Jerry Layne. BONUS

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: May 28, 2014 - 12:00 AM


SCOTT BAKER NOT BAD: Scott Baker couldn't even take a peek at the Twins dugout while he was on the mound. Too many people he knew over there.
``I made a point not to look in the dugout,'' he said. ``Of course a lot of great memories and there’s still some guys here that I really enjoyed playing with throughout the years. It was fun. Regardless of the results, I was going to make the most of it. I appreciate the time I had here and tried to give them something to worry about.''
He focused on the 60 feet, 6 inches in front of him. And besides a home run by Oswaldo Arcia and a couple doubles, Baker looked like his old self.
Baker spent seven seasons with the Twins, going 63-48 with a 4.15 ERA.  It's been a tough road back for Baker, 32, who has had trouble getting his career on track since having Tommy John surgery in April of 2012. He signed with the Cubs while he recovered and made three starts late in the 2013 season. He signed a minor league deal with Seattle but was cut on March 25. He signed with Texas three days later and was sent to Class AAA Round Rock, where he was 4-1 with a 3.32 ERA. This is his second stint with Texas this season - and there were rumblings that he could be designated for assignment on Wednesday to clear a roster spot for Joe Saunders, who is coming off the disabled list to start against the Twins.
Baker had just been out on the field Tuesday, chatting with Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, when the Rangers decided to start him.
``The ball jumped out of his hand pretty good And we're pretty proud of that guy. He came from this organization and is one of our guys and he is still hanging in there. He's had some pretty big surgeries and  he's still hanging in there and he pitched well against us tonight. You look at the guys across the way that played here. Somewhere inside you root for them and I root for that kid.

NUNEZ MADE PLAYS WITH HIS LEGS: Good job by Eduardo Nunez on Tuesday. Some were surprised he was tabbed to pinch hit for Chris Parmelee in the seventh inning on Tuesday because a righthander was on the mound. But Nunez is batting .311 against righties and has numbers against Alexi Ogando. It didn't work out then but it sure worked out later as he drove in Oswaldo Arcia with a single and went to second on the throw. It was important for him to go to second to try and draw a throw. He did, and he as safe. And it ensured that the run scored. ``The guy on second base, he is slow....not fast,'' Nunez said of Arcia. ``If it is  Brian Dozier, I stay. It's a different situation. Then Nunez took off for third when Kurt Suzuki hit a grounder there. He wanted to be in position to round third and head for home if something goes wrong when Beltre throws to first. We all saw what happened then. Good baserunning by Nunez, who is proving to be a pretty good bench player.

BASELINE PLAY: Nunez didn't run out of the baseline to avoid a tag. He ran around Beltre to not interfere with him fielding the ball. Here's crew chief Jerry Layne's explanation: ``"That's the key, to avoid being tagged," Layne said. "(Nunez) has to yield (Beltre) a chance to field the ball. (Nunez) goes around (Beltre) in an attempt to allow him to field the ball. There was never an attempt to make a tag. If (Beltre) would have stuck his glove out to try to make an attempt, we have a different play.

"Ninety-nine percent of the time, they attempt to make a tag. He never made an attempt."

BONUS -  EDDIE ROSARIO: His suspension just about over, Eddie Rosario is getting to get his minor league season underway. Rosario, one of the Twins best hitting prospects, is set to report to Class A Fort Myers on Thursday. It will be his first action of the season after he served a 50-game suspension for testing positive for marijuana during the Arizona Fall League. Rosario has spent the last several weeks working out at the Twins' year-round facility in Fort Myers, and recently began playing in extended spring training games. He was scheduled to open the season at Class AA New Britain before the failed drug test. Now he will play with the Miracle until the Twins determine that he's ready to join the Rock Cats. He will play both second base and the outfield.

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