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: Outfield, Polanco, Buxton

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: June 27, 2014 - 11:58 PM

Here are three thoughts following the Twins' loss to Texas

OUTFIELD: This is not meant to bash Josh Willingham. The Twins signed him to hit. He's never been a great outfielder and he knows his limitations out there. For example, Delmon Young made mistakes in the outfield trying to do things he can't do. Willingham is not like that. But I felt he shouldn't have dived for the sinking fly ball in the fifth. He usually plays it safe there. But that play was rendered moot by the double off the wall. That was going to be a tough play for Willingham from the start. A more agile outfielder has a better chance at catching the second ball than Willingham does. What the Twins need to address during the offseason is getting someone who can cover ground in left field and at least have two guys with good range out there (because Oswaldo Arcia will be in right). Target Field is more pitcher friendly than hitter friendly, but the ERA of Twins pitchers is SUFFERING because there's only one player with range in the outfield. Arcia to DH? Don't think so. Because DH should go to Morales, if the Twins bring him back, or..........Kennys Vargas.

POLANCO: Jorge Polanco said his mother, Ynes, is coming to see him play. He plans to present her with the ball from his first major league hit. Polanco hit a two-run triple in the ninth inning on Friday. ``The kid, who knew what to expect? You're putting him into a big situation late in the game. We know he can hit. He's got to work on the defensive part, a lot of parts he has to work on. But the kid can swing the bat.''

BUXTON: Terry Ryan wasn't sure, but he thought Byron Buxton took batting practice on Wednesday. If not, then he's real close. That means he needs a few days of batting practice/full pre-game work then he'll probably play in a few camp games before the Twins will be ready to send him to a farm team. But it appears that he's getting closer to getting on the field.



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