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.

Minor details: No-no means go-go for Osterbrock

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III under Twins Farm System, Twins prospects Updated: May 5, 2010 - 8:22 PM

Lefthander Dan Osterbrock must have been motivated by Kyle Gibson's one-hit gem last week.

Osterbrock, a University of Cincinnati product, tossed a seven-inning no-hitter for Class A Beloit on Saturday against Wisconsin. It's not a nine-inning no-no, but a no-no all the same.

For that. and a overall record of 2-1 with a 2.30 ERA, Osterbrock has been promoted to Class A Fort Myers of the Florida State League.

``It was time,'' said Jim Rantz, the Twins' director of minor leagues. ``We'll see how he does against tougher competition.'''

It will be interesting to see how Osterbrock does at the High-A level - because he really doesn't throw that hard.

His fastball tops out at 85 miles an hour. He has a really good breaking ball, kind of a slurve, as well as a change up. Predictably, Osterbrock doesn't throw a lot of heat. Of the 74 pitches he threw during his no-no, 23 were fastballs, 32 were the slider-curve hybrid and 19 were change ups.

Rantz, along with Twins special instructor/advisor Tom Kelly, were on hand for Osterbrock's no-hitter.

``Great breaking ball and good change up,'' Rantz said. ``Pinpoint control.''

Osterbrock, 23, was 7-10 with a 5.19 ERA last season at Beloit, so he started this season back there. He struck out 140 in 137 innings but gave up 173 hits and walked 35 batters for the Snappers last season. Without the ability to blow it by hitters, his control must be very sharp and he can't fall in love with his breaking ball.


With the Twins carrying three catchers, and Jose Morales still getting into game shape after offseason wrist surgery (and setbacks), both Class AAA Rochester and Class AA New Britain had one catcher for a few days this week,

But Jair Fernandez has been called up from Fort Myers to Class AAA Rochester to help out.

New Britain catcher Danny Lehmann suffered a dislocated shoulder during a collision at home plate and will be out indefinitely. So Danny Rams, who opened the season at Class A Beloit has been promoted to New Britain for the time being.  Toby Gardenhire had to catch seven innings is a game this week out of necessity.

Morales has made good progress but still needs some time before he will be assigned to Rochester. Meanwhile, the Twins have become comfortable with Drew Butera as Joe Mauer's primary backup. So don't expect Morales to return to the Twins unless there are more injuries.


Recent reports have Anthony Slama struggling with control lately, And he did on Tuesday against Durham when he gave up two runs on two hits, one a homer, and three walks in two innings of work.

Lefthander Glenn Perkins started that game and gave up three homers in the third inning. He was charged with six runs over 22/3 innings. His ERA rose from 9.00 to 10.90. This from a guy who was 12-4 in the majors one season.

Former Gopher Derek McCallum on Friday will have surgery to clean up ligament damage in his wrist and will be out up to fie weeks. He was batting .241 in eight games at Beloit.

Loek Van Mil, the 7-foot-1 righthander who was slowed by shin splints and forearm problems during spring training, pitched an inning of extended spring training on Tuesday, his first action since being shut down near the end of camp.

Rochester outfielder Dustin Martin was named Twins minor league player of the month of April after batting .338 with 4 homers, 17 RBI and 13 runs scored. Beloit righthander Liam Hendricks was named the Twins' minor league pitcher of the month after going 1-0 with a 0.41 ERA in four starts.



more twins blogs


Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters