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.

Twins on Sunday: Everyone closes

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: March 28, 2010 - 12:17 PM

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said before today's game that he will begin the season with a closer-by-committee plan until further notice.

---- But that could change if the front office trades for a closer.

--- And it could change if they decide to approach Francisco Liriano one more time about closing

Other than those possibilites, look for Jon Rauch, Matt Guerrier, Jesse Crain and even Jose Mijares to be on the mound in the ninth inning to try to close games out.

``And we'll figure it out,'' Gardenhire said. ``We can go through each day until we decide on one guy.''

Pat Neshek will get an inning today after throwing on Friday. If he get through it O.K. the Twins will use him in back-to-back games during the week as a final test to see if he can be relied on early in the season. If there are any setbacks, Neshek will not go north with the team.

Relievers have to ready to pitch in back-to-back games during the season, so this week will be a big test for Neshek.

Michael Cuddyer is batting .500 this spring to lead all Major League hitters.

Extra players today: Righthanders Tim Lahey and Santos Arias and lefty Ryan Mullins; infielders James Beresford and Deibinson Romero; outfielders Joe Benson and Dustin Martin.

Joe Nathan returned to the clubhouse this morning after having Tommy John surgery on Friday. He seemed to be in good spirits. He confirmed that his ligament was completely torn but said that it wasn't beat up and frayed like other cases. So doctors used the existing ligament while adding a tendon from his left wrist. ``should make it stronger when it's back and ready to go,'' Nathan said,


Lineups

Twins

1, Denard Span, CF
2. Orlando Hudson, 2B
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Justin Morneau, 1B
5. Michael Cuddyer, RF
6. Jim Thome, DH
7. Jason Kubel, LF
8. J.J. Hardy, SS
9. Brendan Harris, 3B

RHP Carl Pavano, followed by Clay Condrey, Pat Neshek, Jose Mijares and Kyle Waldrop

Red Sox

1. Jacoby Ellsbury, LF
2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
3. Victor Martinez, C
4. Kevin Youkilis, 1B
5. David Ortiz, DH
6. Adrian Beltre, 3B
7. Mike Cameron, CF
8. Bill Hall, RF
9. Marco Scutaro, SS

RHP Clayu Buchholz, followed by Jonathan Papelbon, Hidkei Okajima and Ramon Ramirez

 

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