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 pregame: Nolasco returns to the mound against the Royals

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: August 15, 2014 - 5:10 PM

Ricky Nolasco makes his first start since July 6 as he tries to remind the Twins why they signed him to the richest free agent contract in team history. Nolasco has missed more than a month because of a flexor pronator strain that led to him losing about one mile an hour off his fastball each month o the season, culminating with a July 6 outing against the Yankees in which he gave up six runs over two innings.

Nolasco admitted at that point that he had been bothered by some elbow discomfort going back to spring training. He says his arm feels the best it has in two years, so we'll see if that translates to a run of zeroes on the scoreboard.

To make room on the active roster, righthander Yohan Pino was optioned to Class AAA Rochester. Pino could come back a week from Saturday as the 26th man to start one of the doubleheader games against the Tigers.

Former Twin Josh Willingham is in the lineup and batting sixth for the Royals. With Eric Hosmer on the disabled list, Billy Butler has played first base with Willingham at designated hitter. He's 2-for-10 with a double, walk and stolen base since joining the Royals.

Royals (66-54)

Nori Aoki, RF
Oamr Infante, 2B
Salvador Perez, C
Billy Butler, 1B
Alex Gordon, LF
Josh Willingham, DH
Mike Moustakas, 3B
Alcides Escobar, SS
Jarrod Dyson, CF

Dany Duffy, LHP

Twins (54-65)

Danny Santana, CF
Brian Dozier, 2B
Joe Mauer, 1B
Kennys Vargas, DH
Trevor Plouffe, 3B
Kurt Suzuki, C
Oswaldo Arcia, RF
Eduardo Escobar, SS
Jordan Schafer, LF

Ricky Nolasco, RHP


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